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Natalie Majaba Waldburger

Alien, 2016

Epson enhanced matte photo paper, LED lights, terracotta pots, soil, English ivy, mugwort, garlic mustard, kudzu.


This work is produced on a commission basis. Please press "Inquire" button to contact gallery for details.

$5,000 CDN

Canadian artist Natalie Majaba Waldburger is known for her sculptures and installations that delve into the intricate connections between biology, nature, and human narratives. Her creative practice, characterized by its openness to various disciplines, places a strong emphasis on collaboration, anti-colonial research, critical examination of institutions, and interdisciplinary education. Her work also serves as a powerful vehicle to address vital themes such as sustainability, social justice, and art practices rooted in ecological respect.

Alien took shape during her artist-in-residence at the esteemed School of Visual Arts in New York. In this project, she created cylindrical structures using panoramic photographs, each of them housing invasive plant specimens collected from two prominent local public parks, Central Park and Prospect Park. Following a workshop on invasive species led by artist Ellie Irons at GenSpace, Waldburger embarked on an extended investigation into these plants, uprooted from their countries of origin.

Her research unveiled the origins of each plant, shedding light on their ideal growth conditions and the adaptations they underwent upon their arrival in North America. Once transplanted to this new continent, these plants ingeniously cultivated microclimates that replicated the environmental conditions of their countries of origin. They thrived by taking root in unexpected locations, including sidewalk cracks, amidst urban construction, and within public parks.

Within the installation, each plant in its dedicated cylinder, effectively creating microclimate replicas. The inner walls of these cylinders were adorned with photographs depicting the native lands of these invasive species. These images evoked a sense of confinement, akin to a claustrophobic diorama, compelling viewers to confront the displacement and transformation of these plants.

Each plant in the installation is housed in its own cylinder, emulating a microclimate. The photographs on the inside of the cylinders depict the land of origin for these invasive species, in a type of claustrophobic diorama. The photographs on the outside of the cylinders were taken at the sites in New York and Brooklyn where these plants were unearthed, grounding the project in the tangible reality of their presence in the urban environment.

The story of non-native plants thriving in North America by adapting and replicating the microclimate of their home countries can be metaphorically linked to the experiences of immigrants, settlers, their challenges in creating new homes in foreign lands, the fact that New York was once the Ancestral Lands of the Lenape People (Delaware). Alien provides a poignant illustration of the interconnectedness between environmental changes, human migration, and climate change.

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