1st Edition

Flora Fantastic From Orchidelirium to Ecocritical Contemporary Art

Edited By Corina Apostol, Tashima Thomas Copyright 2025
    208 Pages 110 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This project delves deep into colonial botany, utilizing mediums such as historical investigation, cinema, photography, live performance, and installation art.

    Surveying perspectives from Europe, the U.S., Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean, it positions plants—both native and foreign—as active participants and silent observers in colonial narratives. By viewing through the prism of visual and performance art, this book touches on diverse topics like the economic value of plants, traditional and Western medicine, state-endorsed scientific endeavours, migration patterns of flora and people, bio-contact areas, nationalistic views, and botanical diplomacy. It offers fresh insights into colonial botany's multifaceted history, emphasizing the intricate interplay between Eastern, Western, and Southern nations during the 20th century and its enduring impact today.

    Serving as an invaluable addition to the realms of art history, performance studies, botany, visual culture, decolonial initiatives, and environmental politics, this book arrives at a pivotal moment when its insights are most crucial.


    Chapter 1. Flora Fantastic. An Introduction
    Corina L. Apostol and Tashima Thomas

    Part I, Colonial Legacies and Natural Intersections: Critical Perspectives on Culture, Nature, and Identity

    Chapter 2. A Ripening Injury
    Michael Marder

    Chapter 3. Estonians, Orchids, and Exotic Others: Baltic Colonial Entanglements Revisited
    Ulrike Plath

    Chapter 4. Against ‘Orchidelirium’ and ‘Pornotropics’: Indonesian Artists on the Coloniality of Nature, Gender, and Race
    Sadiah Boonstra

    Chapter 5. Propagated in Obscurity: Bermuda Grass and Rhizomatic Queerness
    C.C. McKee and Jamison Edgar

    Chapter 6. Scores for the Sensitive
    Dennis Dizon

    Part II, Botanical Narratives: Art, Ecology, and Postcolonial Reflections

    Chapter 7. Botanical Timeline
    Corina L. Apostol

    Chapter 8. Addressing Erasures and Imagining Resistance: On Working with Colonialism and Memory, Environment and Extractivism in the Age of Crisis
    Kristina Norman and Linda Kaljundi

    Chapter 9. Unmasking the Palm Oil Paradox: Elia Nurvista's 'Long Hanging Fruits'
    Corina L. Apostol

    Chapter 10. Gardening in the Beautiful ‘Wake’ of Empire in the work of Ebony G. Patterson at New York Botanical Gardens
    Tashima Thomas

    Chapter 11. From Soil to Subversion: The Artistic Alchemy of Nikita Kadan
    Corina L. Apostol

    Chapter 12. Unearthing the Blind Spots of Botanical History: An Exploration of Uriel Orlow's 'Theatrum Botanicum'
    Corina L. Apostol

    Chapter 13. Red Forests, Table Manners: Zina Saro-Wiwa's Artistic Reclamation of Ecological and Cultural Identity
    Corina L. Apostol

    Chapter 14. Interlacing Roots and Feminine Forms: Wangechi Mutu's Ecological Reflections on Hybridity and Transformation
    Corina L. Apostol

    Chapter 15. Botanical Monstrosity and Kincentric Ecologies in the Work of Firelei Báez
    Tashima Thomas

    Glossary of Botanical Terms
    Corina L. Apostol and Tashima Thomas




    Corina L. Apostol is an art historian, curator and writer specializing in socially engaged art and visual culture. She currently serves as assistant professor of social practice in contemporary art and culture at the University of Amsterdam.

    Tashima Thomas is an art historian, gastronome, curator, and cultural critic specializing in the art of the African Diaspora in the Americas. She currently serves as Assistant Professor of Art History at Southern Methodist University in the Meadows School of the Arts.