Flora: Exploration to Extinction is an immersive installation that reevaluates our relationship to the natural world. A collaged landscape of flora displays an ecological utopia of abundance, interrupted by silhouettes of extinct and endangered species. I designed the work as a site-specific installation for a 20 ft (6 m) corridor at a hotel in South Kensingon, London; commission by Vestalia Chilton, curator of Attollo Art & art director of the Exhibitionist Hotel. Flora was introduced during Frieze London 2018; the installation will be on display for several years, and is open to the public.

P1066394 copy2 copy copy.jpg
 
0K0A5339.jpg
0K0A5376.jpg
0K0A5357.jpg

Each of the black silhouettes represents a species of extinct or endangered flora, and are accompanied by an information panel including the plant name, native ecology, and ecological pressures. I chose black silhouettes as a visual cue for absence in the landscape, and as a reference to Victorian portraiture and nineteenth century plant exploration, a period during which species traveled the globe and luxurious images of flora were fetishized.

0K0A5366.jpg

The black silhouettes are highlighted by gilt frames, emphasizing the portrait presentation and nostalgia for the nineteenth century adoration of flora, and perceived ecological abundance. Dried seed heads and leaves, spray painted gold, are wound around the frames, plunging from the walls as preserved relics and invitations to engage.

0K0A5382.jpg
0K0A5204.jpg
0K0A5200.jpg
Dwarf ebony  (Trochetiopsis ebenus) Status     Critically Endangered G  eography & assessment   Flowering plant in the mallow family. Endemic to the south-western coast of St Helena, South Atlantic Ocean, limited to one surviving group over 100m2. Threats include the introduction of non-native human-introduced animals, especially rabbits, which predate on seeds.

Dwarf ebony (Trochetiopsis ebenus)
Status
Critically Endangered
Geography & assessment Flowering plant in the mallow family. Endemic to the south-western coast of St Helena, South Atlantic Ocean, limited to one surviving group over 100m2. Threats include the introduction of non-native human-introduced animals, especially rabbits, which predate on seeds.

Onion plant   (Crinum thaianum)    Status     Endangered G  eography & assessment   White lily-like flowers appear above water and submerged bulbs. Endemic to coastal plains of southern Thailand, where dredging for sediment and rock, and land reclamation, have caused dramatic changes to the species’ river ecologies. 1% of population remains.

Onion plant (Crinum thaianum)
Status Endangered
Geography & assessment White lily-like flowers appear above water and submerged bulbs. Endemic to coastal plains of southern Thailand, where dredging for sediment and rock, and land reclamation, have caused dramatic changes to the species’ river ecologies. 1% of population remains.

Nepenthes deaniana Status     Threatened G  eography & assessment   Carnivorous pitcher plant endemic to the summit region of Mt Pulgar, Palawan, Philippines. Rediscovered in wild in 2009 after believed to be extinct since 1945. Threats include climate change and increasing tourism disturbances.

Nepenthes deaniana
Status
Threatened
Geography & assessment Carnivorous pitcher plant endemic to the summit region of Mt Pulgar, Palawan, Philippines. Rediscovered in wild in 2009 after believed to be extinct since 1945. Threats include climate change and increasing tourism disturbances.

Biznaguita    (Mammillaria sanchez-mejoradae) Status     Critically Endangered G  eography & assessment   Slow-growing miniature cactus with tiny feathery combed spines. Endemic to one location in Nuevo León, Mexico. Population has diminished by 75% in 15 years. At risk of extinction due to illegal collection & climate change.

Biznaguita (Mammillaria sanchez-mejoradae)
Status
Critically Endangered
Geography & assessment Slow-growing miniature cactus with tiny feathery combed spines. Endemic to one location in Nuevo León, Mexico. Population has diminished by 75% in 15 years. At risk of extinction due to illegal collection & climate change.

Bastard quiver tree  (Aloe pillansii) Status     Critically Endangered G  eography & assessment   Tall branching succulent with bring yellow pendant flowers. A population of less than 200 individuals is endemic to the Richtersveld in Cape Province, South Africa. Threats include invasive diseases, logging, and ecological disruption.

Bastard quiver tree (Aloe pillansii)
Status
Critically Endangered
Geography & assessment Tall branching succulent with bring yellow pendant flowers. A population of less than 200 individuals is endemic to the Richtersveld in Cape Province, South Africa. Threats include invasive diseases, logging, and ecological disruption.

St Helena redwood  (Trochetiopsis erythroxylon) Status     Extinct in the wild G  eography & assessment   Once abundant enough for 17th century settlers to use timber for homes, the pink pendant flowering tree is now extinct in the wild. All cultivated species descend from one individual in St Helena, South Atlantic Ocean. Dispersal by a species of birds, which has died out.

St Helena redwood (Trochetiopsis erythroxylon)
Status
Extinct in the wild
Geography & assessment Once abundant enough for 17th century settlers to use timber for homes, the pink pendant flowering tree is now extinct in the wild. All cultivated species descend from one individual in St Helena, South Atlantic Ocean. Dispersal by a species of birds, which has died out.

Allium iatrouinum Status     Critically endangered G  eography & assessment   Endemic to Mount Ochi on Evvia Island, Greece, where species grows in crevices of high altitude metamorphic rock as clusters of 10-20 tiny flowers. 200-400 individual plants counted. Threats include destruction of habitat for wind turbines.

Allium iatrouinum
Status
Critically endangered
Geography & assessment Endemic to Mount Ochi on Evvia Island, Greece, where species grows in crevices of high altitude metamorphic rock as clusters of 10-20 tiny flowers. 200-400 individual plants counted. Threats include destruction of habitat for wind turbines.

Toussaintia orientalis Status     Critically Endangererd G  eography & assessment   A small flowering tree extinct in its native Kenyan bushland bushlands, now only known in limited locations along coast of Tanzania. Threats primarily due to forest loss, destructive agriculture, and effect of climate change.

Toussaintia orientalis
Status
Critically Endangererd
Geography & assessment A small flowering tree extinct in its native Kenyan bushland bushlands, now only known in limited locations along coast of Tanzania. Threats primarily due to forest loss, destructive agriculture, and effect of climate change.

Pico de El Sauzal  (Lotus maculatus) Status     Critically Endangered G  eography & assessment   Silver-grey foliage with fiery orange flowers, endemic to Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. Less than 50 individuals remain. Primary threats include destructive agriculture and climate change.

Pico de El Sauzal (Lotus maculatus)
Status
Critically Endangered
Geography & assessment Silver-grey foliage with fiery orange flowers, endemic to Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. Less than 50 individuals remain. Primary threats include destructive agriculture and climate change.

Cucumber tree  (Dendrosicyos socotrana) Status     Critically Threatened G  eography & assessment   Bulbous trunk & small crown, the ancient tree is an island relic of a progenitor lineage that became extinct on the mainland. Endemic to Socotra Island, whose ecosystems are suffering from resource exploitation, land use management.

Cucumber tree (Dendrosicyos socotrana)
Status
Critically Threatened
Geography & assessment Bulbous trunk & small crown, the ancient tree is an island relic of a progenitor lineage that became extinct on the mainland. Endemic to Socotra Island, whose ecosystems are suffering from resource exploitation, land use management.

‘Rosa’ impatiens  (Impatiens grandis) Status     Critically Endangered G  eography & assessment   Endemic to highland forests of southern India and Sri Lanka, where rising temperatures due to climate change, and predation due to threatened habitats, are primary pressures. Species is noted for evergreen oversized leaves & large light pink petals resembling orchids.

‘Rosa’ impatiens (Impatiens grandis)
Status
Critically Endangered
Geography & assessment Endemic to highland forests of southern India and Sri Lanka, where rising temperatures due to climate change, and predation due to threatened habitats, are primary pressures. Species is noted for evergreen oversized leaves & large light pink petals resembling orchids.

Talus fritillaria    (Fritillaria falcata) Status     Endangered G  eography & assessment   Short-stemmed fritillary  with star-shaped yellow & purple flowers. Endemic to coastal California, USA at elevations of 300-1300m. Observed in fewer than five declining subpopulations. Primary threats include logging & mining.

Talus fritillaria (Fritillaria falcata)
Status
Endangered
Geography & assessment Short-stemmed fritillary

with star-shaped yellow & purple flowers. Endemic to coastal California, USA at elevations of 300-1300m. Observed in fewer than five declining subpopulations. Primary threats include logging & mining.

Lady’s slipper    (Calceolaria fothergillii) Status     Critically Endangered G  eography & assessment   Endemic to Falkland Islands on healthlands & sandy soil. Winter-flowering red & yellow slipper-shaped flowers are bird pollinated. Threatened habitats due to over-grazing and land reclamation for commercial developments.

Lady’s slipper (Calceolaria fothergillii)
Status
Critically Endangered
Geography & assessment Endemic to Falkland Islands on healthlands & sandy soil. Winter-flowering red & yellow slipper-shaped flowers are bird pollinated. Threatened habitats due to over-grazing and land reclamation for commercial developments.

Hibiscadelphus woodii Status     Extinct G  eography & assessment   A small flowering tree in the mallow family, once endemic to Kauai, Hawaii. Four individuals recorded in wild in 1999; last found dead in 2011. Pollen inviable; unable to propagate in cultivation.

Hibiscadelphus woodii
Status
Extinct
Geography & assessment A small flowering tree in the mallow family, once endemic to Kauai, Hawaii. Four individuals recorded in wild in 1999; last found dead in 2011. Pollen inviable; unable to propagate in cultivation.

Kennedia retrorsa Status     Critically Endangered G  eography & assessment   Vigorous climbing perennial with pink flowers and fuzzy leaves. Endemic to eucalypt woodlands in New South Wales, where wildfire and inappropriate hazard reduction burns are destroying vulnerable populations. Expected extinct in 3-4 years.

Kennedia retrorsa
Status
Critically Endangered
Geography & assessment Vigorous climbing perennial with pink flowers and fuzzy leaves. Endemic to eucalypt woodlands in New South Wales, where wildfire and inappropriate hazard reduction burns are destroying vulnerable populations. Expected extinct in 3-4 years.

Grandiphyllum schunkeanum Status     Critically Endangered G  eography & assessment   Epiphytic orchid with small yellow & brown flowers, endemic to coastal Atlantic forests with elevations of 500-1000m in Espirito Santo, Brazil. Primary threats include absence of pollinators, dessication & fire due to rising global temperatures.

Grandiphyllum schunkeanum
Status
Critically Endangered
Geography & assessment Epiphytic orchid with small yellow & brown flowers, endemic to coastal Atlantic forests with elevations of 500-1000m in Espirito Santo, Brazil. Primary threats include absence of pollinators, dessication & fire due to rising global temperatures.

Hill turmeric   (Curcuma pseudomontana)    Status   Threatened G  eography & assessment   Tuberous roots used for arrowroot powder in local medicine. Endemic to moist deciduous and semi-evergreen forest in Western and Eastern Ghats of peninsular India. Populations shrinking due to rising rates of regional habitat loss, fires, and over-harvesting.

Hill turmeric (Curcuma pseudomontana)
Status Threatened
Geography & assessment Tuberous roots used for arrowroot powder in local medicine. Endemic to moist deciduous and semi-evergreen forest in Western and Eastern Ghats of peninsular India. Populations shrinking due to rising rates of regional habitat loss, fires, and over-harvesting.

Yellow fautu  (Abutilon pitcairnense) Status     Extinct in the wild G  eography & assessment   A spreading shrub with nodding bell-shaped yellow flowers, once endemic to Pitcairn Island, South Pacific Ocean, now extinct in the wild, due to soil erosion. The last individual died in a landslide in 2005.

Yellow fautu (Abutilon pitcairnense)
Status
Extinct in the wild
Geography & assessment A spreading shrub with nodding bell-shaped yellow flowers, once endemic to Pitcairn Island, South Pacific Ocean, now extinct in the wild, due to soil erosion. The last individual died in a landslide in 2005.

Franklin tree    (Franklinia alatamaha) Status     Extinct in the wild G  eography & assessment   Deciduous small tree with fragrant white flowers. Once found in Altamaha River Valley, Georgia, USA. Not seen in wild since 1803. Population destruction due to land burning, flood, fungal disease spread by cultivated crops.

Franklin tree (Franklinia alatamaha)
Status
Extinct in the wild
Geography & assessment Deciduous small tree with fragrant white flowers. Once found in Altamaha River Valley, Georgia, USA. Not seen in wild since 1803. Population destruction due to land burning, flood, fungal disease spread by cultivated crops.

Wild apricot    (Armeniaca vulgaris) Status     Endangered G  eography & assessment   Alexander the Great introduced the fruit to Greece; today, the species is threatened by tourism construction, ecological disruption due to logging and climate change. Severely fragmented populations in China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Uzbekistan.

Wild apricot (Armeniaca vulgaris)
Status
Endangered
Geography & assessment Alexander the Great introduced the fruit to Greece; today, the species is threatened by tourism construction, ecological disruption due to logging and climate change. Severely fragmented populations in China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Uzbekistan.

Cadiscus aquaticus Status     Critically Endangered G  eography & assessment   Aquatic floating plant with small leaves and white-rayed flowers endemic to Western Cape, South Africa. Fragnemted populations have declined 70% over 100 years due declining due to wetland reclamation, constuction damage, and fertilizer runoff.

Cadiscus aquaticus
Status
Critically Endangered
Geography & assessment Aquatic floating plant with small leaves and white-rayed flowers endemic to Western Cape, South Africa. Fragnemted populations have declined 70% over 100 years due declining due to wetland reclamation, constuction damage, and fertilizer runoff.

Boxwood      (Mellissia begonifolia) Status     Critically Endangered G  eography & assessment   Once abundant, a single population 50 individuals now grows on stony slopes of St. Helena island, South Atlantic. Vulnerable due to low rain & fewer dispersal agents, both the result of climate change.

Boxwood (Mellissia begonifolia)
Status
Critically Endangered
Geography & assessment Once abundant, a single population 50 individuals now grows on stony slopes of St. Helena island, South Atlantic. Vulnerable due to low rain & fewer dispersal agents, both the result of climate change.

Sérapias à pétales étroits  (Serapias stenopetala) Status     Critically Endangered G  eography & assessment   Declining populations of purple-flowering perennial orchid grows in wet peat, endemic to Mediterranean bioclimates in Algeria and Tunisia. Less than 250 individuals known; threats include habitat destruction and disruption due of tourist developments.

Sérapias à pétales étroits (Serapias stenopetala)
Status
Critically Endangered
Geography & assessment Declining populations of purple-flowering perennial orchid grows in wet peat, endemic to Mediterranean bioclimates in Algeria and Tunisia. Less than 250 individuals known; threats include habitat destruction and disruption due of tourist developments.

Morris quill  (Scilla morrisii) Status     Endangered G  eography & assessment   Endemic to Cyprus island, population less than 600. Dependent on moist shelters such as old stands of oak trees, the species is severely threatened due to logging, human-induced fires, and farmland conversion.

Morris quill (Scilla morrisii)
Status
Endangered
Geography & assessment Endemic to Cyprus island, population less than 600. Dependent on moist shelters such as old stands of oak trees, the species is severely threatened due to logging, human-induced fires, and farmland conversion.