Hortus Malabaricus

ODATHA BIRTHPLACE OF HORTUS MALABARICUS

HORTUS MALABARICUS.

My observations.

Discussion Hortus Malabaricus

Today marked the first time since 333 years that a diverse interest group gathered to discuss the importance of the Hortus Malabaricus in anno 2012. Padmini Krishnan, curator of David Hall introduced Mariëlle van Miltenburg, Head of the Department of Political Affairs and Public Diplomacy of the Netherlands Embassy in New Delhi who officially opened the exhibition with a speech about the manifold meanings of the title, The Wanted Land. Speakers included Jose Dominic, one of the directors of CGH who contextualised the event with a brief talk about the possibility that this very building, David Hall, might be the exact location where the Hortus Malabaricus was produced under the direction and organisation of Hendrik van Reede tot Drakenstein. Former Mayor and presently Convenor, INTACH- Kerala State Chapter Mr Sohan, is an expert on cultural heritage and used specific maps to show exactly where the Dutch buildings once stood. He also emphasised the importance of the contemporary value of the Hortus Malabaricus by discussing how traditional knowledge is kept alive by Mr Mahesh, from the NGO Tapovanam, who provided 120 plants for the exhibition. Mr Mahesh travels in and around Fort Cochin, Vypeen and vicinity lecturing about the medicinal uses of the plants and encouraging the use of urban gardening with indigenous plants. Ajeeth Janardhanan is the executive chef at Brunton Boatyard and made special appetizers for the event with beetle nut and a spectacular mix of fresh fruit for the welcoming drink.

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.

Links

The Wanted Land by Renée Ridgway

February 15th-22nd 2012 | David Hall Gallery, Fort Cochin, India

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