Dutch colonial history

Hortus Malabaricus is an online community platform serving an international interest group regarding the Hortus Malabaricus, a 17th century 12-volume book illustrating around 700 indigenous plants in the Malabar region of Kerala, India that explains their medicinal properties, with captions in 5 different languages. The content will focus on not only the creation of the Hortus Malabaricus but its artistic, botanical, medicinal and political importance in 2013 by concerned parties.

Opening The Wanted Land

The Wanted Land, an exhibition of contemporary art by Renée Ridgway, opened at 5 pm on Saturday February 18, 2012 at David Hall, Fort Cochin, India. Attended by around 150 people, the evening also consisted of a discussion encircling the Hortus Malabaricus and the launch of the online community platform http://hortusmalabaricus.net. The show was comprised of video installations that refer to the Hortus Malabaricus, its compiler Hendrik van Reede tot Drakenstein and its contemporary usage as well as the history and present-day traces of the Dutch Colonization in Fort Cochin.

The Wanted Land focuses on the cultural exchange that has occurred over the past 350 years on the Malabar Coast between the Dutch and the local population. During the late 17th century when the VOC (Dutch East India Company) controlled trade along the Malabar coast, the former Dutch governor Hendrik van Reede tot Drakenstein collaborated with local doctors, botanists, translators and artisans to produce the Hortus Malabaricus. Printed in Amsterdam between 1678-1693, it is a 12-volume work illustrating around 700 indigenous plants that explains their medicinal properties, with captions in 5 different languages. It was originally written in Latin and in 2003, it was translated into English translation by K.S. Manilal and published by Kerala University.

Commodore Odatha a.k.a. Hendrik van Reede tot Drakenstein

During the late 17th century when the VOC (Dutch East India Company) controlled trade along the Malabar coast, the former Dutch governor Hendrik van Reede tot Drakenstein collaborated with local doctors, botanists, translators and artisans to produce the Hortus Malabaricus. Printed in Amsterdam between 1678-1693, it is a 12-volume work illustrating around 700 indigenous plants that explains their medicinal properties, with captions in 5 different languages.

The Wanted Land, 12-minute video

In the main gallery a copy of this book is on view for visitors to peruse its beautiful drawings as well as The Wanted Land, a 12-minute video that makes visible how local people have interpreted, understood and experienced the Dutch colonization of Fort Cochin. It gathers family genealogies, storytelling, and exchange of information as a re-viewing of history favoring oral traditions, participation and vox populi perspectives over the official written narrative of historians, social scientists, anthropologists and sociologists.

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