The Weeds Became Long Graceful Grasses
The Weeds Became Long Graceful Grasses (2019)
In this performance, I cook and serve a dinner of traditional Brazilian dishes prepared with ingredients that lead a double life: they are known food sources, whilst also being used in herbal preparations used for birth control and abortion. The dishes served are safe, not meant to provoke any adverse effects on those pregnant or those who are planning a pregnancy; rather, they are meant to nurture conversations on the medicalization of bodies, notions of ‘radical care,’ the poetic dimensions of herbal remedies, and a re-centering of indigenous and folk knowledges.
The dinner is accompanied by a poetic reading where some of these threads are unravelled through the story of a garden of abortifacient plants located in the Quinta da Boa Vista park, in Rio de Janeiro — originally Tamoio land, which later on became the seat of the Portuguese empire. The National Museum, destroyed in 2018 by a fire, is also located in the park — further embroiling the threads that trace the complicated history of colonialism and the production of knowledge tied to that place. These narratives unfold through the eyes of two women, Julia and Julieta, who first start sowing this garden at the beginning of the 20th century, and stretching until the night of the fire — invoking possibilities for counter-hegemonic politics of care and solidarity for presents, pasts, and futures.
Appetizer: Artemisia-smoked coconut and tapioca cubes, served with pomegranate molasses
Main: Plantain and coconut moqueca, green parsley rice, cashew nut farofa, passion fruit hot sauce
Dessert: Guava compote with cinnamon
To drink: Pomegranate and juniper kombucha
Commissioned by Savvy Contemporary, Berlin.
Performed in earlier forms on September 2018 at Konsthall C in Stockholm, Sweden, as part of the Decolonize the Curatorial program; and at KTH Södertälje as part of the “Herbarium” exhibition program.
Photos: Raisa Galofre