The Everglades Book (2017) is an image driven project which demonstrates how the cultural arts can help redefine our perception of the wilderness. Presented in a recycled cardboard box, the book will consist of over 100 color pages of a decade’s worth of field reseach documented through visual art projects including paintings, photographs, and some archival images which have never been seen by the general public from the South Florida Collections Management Center. A diverse group of special guest contributors will present show essays in each chapter. Their commentary will elevate the project from simply an artist’s memoir to advocating the shared purpose of actively learning through cutural and scientific collaboration. The strategic goal is to inspire the public to reconsider the environment while also illuminating the region’s collective heritage through art, history, science, and culture.
The work itself doesn't have to be perfect, just a translation of what I see while exploring the remaining tracts of wilderness. New works which include digitally manipulated photographs of select preserved specimens from the Dan Beard Center are present in each section. Bonnie Ciolino, the archivist at the South Florida Collections Management Center in the Everglades National Park, states “Museum and collection repositories are continually challenged to find new ways to improve accessibility to their collections. Collaborating with and facilitating research use of the collections by artists offers the opportunity to bring collections to a wider audience. The creativity and artistic expression that are a product of these joint ventures present the viewer with a unique interpretation of the world.”
The resulting color photographs from numerous South Florida Collections Management Center visits evoke memories of a forgotten era and weave together the cultural fabric of displaced human populations and numerous species. This will offer armchair travelers a chance to see ornithological and botanical specimens preserved from mid century until present day. Can the interpretation of our environment through an artist’s eyes help redefine our perception of the wilderness? Perhaps it can, and maybe even ignite a sense of urgency to enjoy, protect and conserve the River of Grass. Works from the book will be displayed regionally in an accompanying exhibition.