December 16, 2017
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SEED :: Haiti initiates new arts space in Blue Hill

Community Author: Lee Lee
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Lee Lee, the SEED Barn
Lee Lee, the SEED Barn

C O U N T E R P O I N T     |     SEED :: Haiti

The SEED Barn opens to the public in Blue Hill

Black Friday, November 24th from 1 to 3pm, tea will be served
53 Falls Bridge Road, Blue Hill ME
www.virtualvoices.org | lee
lee@virtualvoices.org

The SEED Barn is a new arts and ecological engagement space located in the Cheever Farmhouse, across from Conary Cove in South Blue Hill. The mission of SEED is to encourage cross-pollination between the arts and sciences through fine art exhibitions and creative dissemination methods to celebrate the miracle of seeds. Visitors to SEED exhibitions and public engagement forays are invited to look through the lens of the seed in order to explore their personal relationship to the natural world. The SEED Barn houses a seed library with a dual focus on wildlands restoration and heirloom preservation, a SEED Sensorium, art exhibition space, and demonstration gardens which include five distinct ecology zones laid out over three acres.

The first public event will take place on Black Friday as a counterpoint to challenge consumer cultural norms.

Nothing is for sale.

Donations will be gathered to take to Haiti in early December, when Lee Lee will participate in the Ghetto Biennial by establishing a SEED Library and Sensorium in a Redzone along the Grand Rue of Port-Au-Prince. This will be her third time participating in the Biennial, having won the people’s choice award for the establishment of pocket gardens through the neighborhood during the 2015 Biennial. “The Ghetto Biennale is attempting to momentarily transform spaces, dialogues and relationships considered un-navigable and unworkable into transcultural, creative platforms…[it] has realised a ‘chaotic, amorphous, de-institutionalised space’ for artistic production that attempts to offer a vibrant creative platform to artists from wide socioeconomic classes.” http://ghettobiennale.org

Historic trade routes between Acadia and Haiti were formed through mutual ties to France and persist culturally to this day. The significance of hosting this tea on Black Friday is in consideration of the damaging neocolonial relationships that exploit labor in Haiti to produce cheap products on the international market. The urgency of seed work in Haiti is dictated by new efforts from US based organizations to hybridize traditional seeds with the intention that they will ultimately be patented. This is a severe threat to Haitian food security, which has already been battered by the US led Creole Pig disaster in the 1980s, the debasing of rice farming production under the Clinton administration and the devastating earthquake in 2010.

Haitians are inspiring in the way they persist. Embedded in the tangle of footpaths that make up the urban Redzones in Port-Au-Prince is an enduring cultural pride which upholds agricultural practice as a primary source of their identity. Despite the confines of an extreme environment, Moringa, fruit and Mayanut trees offer good canopies, vines like squash and yam can grow on rooftops and herbs offer nutrient dense supplements to their diets. Along with the seed library, the development of an educational SEED Sensorium will allow children growing up in urban areas maintain a connection with their agricultural heritage.

Donations should be light and easy to pack in a suitcase. Valued items include handtools (this is a strong woodworking community), art & school supplies, reading glasses, toothbrushes, aspirin and latex gloves.

Beyond gathering donations for Haiti, this event will be an opportunity for residents to discover the local preservation work practiced at the SEED Barn. Local artists who create ecology themed artworks are invited to get to know a potential outlet for their work. Submissions are currently being accepted for programming through 2018.

 

MORE INFORMATION:

http://virtualvoices.org/seed-haiti | leelee@virtualvoices.org
Winter hours are by appointment: 207.374.2947

Instagram @seed.disperse
Facebook event:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1747789972184616

 

 

About Lee Lee: Collaborating with communities as diverse as Burmese refugees in Thailand to ecological sophisticates in Copenhagen, youth in Bhutan to the Society of Conservation Biologists, local artist Lee Lee has spent many years building a creative response to the ecological and health impacts of plastic and chemical pollution. During this extensive international work around a material that is ubiquitous to our mobilities centered, convenience oriented ‘global’ culture, she learned that enduring solutions grow with ecological restoration. Now based in Blue Hill, she is shifting her focus to engage the Mid Coast and Downeast Maine communities in creative work with seeds through opening the SEED Barn.