Conservatory Exhibit: Rooting Reciprocity

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Drawn portrait for Rooting Reciprocity exhibit shows Osut "Siling" Casidsid-Kasberg speaking on behalf of bamboo for Hanunoo-Mangyan community of Mindoro, Philippines

Matthaei Botanical Gardens will feature two linked exhibitions created by undergraduate student and former MBGNA DEIJA researcher Mahalina Dimacali. These exhibitions, Rooting Reciprocity and Kina n’da-nowendaaganag / All My Relations, are the culmination of 3 years of research and engaged scholarship to create a framework for botanical gardens rooted in community needs and co-liberatory practice. 

Rooting Reciprocity

In the tropical, temperate, and desert houses of the conservatory, engage with newly designed signs written by global Indigenous community representatives that convey their relationship to a plant relative of their choosing. Each sign is accompanied by life-size portrait installations created by artists Mahalina Dimacali and Zoi Crampton. 

This exhibition invites visitors to consider the many ways land-based relationships can take shape, connect with culture keepers who preserve these stories, and challenge the colonial information and knowledge systems western botanical gardens are founded upon. 

About Mahalina Dimacali:

Mahalina Dimacali is a community and cultural organizer whose research explores the intersections of critical museum studies, Indigenous studies, and ethnobotany. 

Since 2017, her focus has been on how museums can affirm or deny relationships with the water, land, and all beings within. Her work is rooted in the belief that everyone should have access to culturally relevant spaces to foster these relationships. While she has worked in various fields within museums (education, public programs, research, and curation), her work is informed by community relationships and held accountable by her familial teachings.Mahalina is the anak/child of Annabelle apo/grandchild of Feliza. She identifies as a queer, multiracial, descendant of the mountains, waters, and generations of healers in the Philippines. She is currently completing her undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan in the Program in the Environment with a minor in Museum Studies in the unceded homelands of the Anishinaabek (Odawa, Ojibwe, Bodewademi) and Wyandot.

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