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Urban Invasive Medicinals is a series of hand-rendered drawings depicting the top five most pervasive/invasive plants in the Northeastern U.S. & more specifically in New York City where I was living at the time. One of the largest culprits of the proliferation of invasives is the lack of intimate human involvement with these species & the land in-which they thrive. These drawings are part of a much larger project called the Invasive Apothecary & the Invasive Species Creative Proposal Series & very intentionally reflect my medical herbalism studies into Chinese Medicine. The Urban Invasive Medicinals Series & the Invasive Apothecary deconstruct popular notions of invasive species by rejecting the intolerant militaristic, war-like language used to describe invasive species but also by examining their larger ecological potentials, the contemporary & historical human relationships to the land & the use of invasive species as food & medicine by non -"Western", industrialized cultures. These endeavors look at how the erasure of traditional-ecological-knowledge (TEK) from indigenous peoples, about these plants, has been abandoned at the expense of dissociating us from the fact that their curative human virtues directly mirror the remedial virtues for the land. This project is about reconnecting to sacred subsistence economies which sits at the intersection of resource sustainably & ecological literacy. It is part of decolonizing what we consider medicine & our relationship with the land while healing the eco-grief, business-as-usual paradigm which falsely touts that corporate toxic chemical herbicide is the only solution to ecosystem biodiversity. Ecologist Brendon Larson states that the inaccurate perceptions of invasive species, "contribute to social misunderstanding, charges of xenophobia, & loss of scientific credibility.”


Each drawing, for this series was done in the style of a classical botanical drawing of the 18th century & is meant to be a subversive act which comments on the idea that only "prized", "useful", "beautiful" plants, to the white colonial mind-set, are worthy of being depicted in scientific illustration. Color for each work was intentionally reserved for the part(s) of these common "weedy" plants which have a long cultural history of medicinal use in China, India & the Americas yet have often been omitted in various European/American botanical portfolios throughout the centuries.


In order of appearance we have: Ailanthus (Ailanthus altissima), Barberry (Berberis vulgaris), Japanese Knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum), Phragmites (Phragmites australis), Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana)

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