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 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.

Study into (Un)becoming Dutch, Part I&II

A study into (un)becoming Dutch- Part I in the far room on the left is where my Ayurvedic doctor tells a story about emigration, immigration, integration, and finally disintegration in regard to setting up his practice in the Netherlands, while driving through his neighborhood in Kerala. A study into (un)becoming Dutch- Part I exposes various aspects of Dutch bureaucracy faced by immigrants and the decision to return to the country of origin. In A Study into Unbecoming Dutch Part lI, a flatscreen monitor positioned above a massage table reflects the perspective of a patient (the artist).

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