"Happy Planting Day Ceremony" at Tafaria Castle, Kenya
Happy Planting Day ceremony in front of my new monument: “Weaving Our Roots”. Here I buried Seed paper greeting cards from the Happy Planting Day workshop I did with Climate Museum earlier this year were audiences wrote a well wish to their deceased relatives. I planted them in front of this monument for US audiences to have a piece of their heritage growing in Kenya, to bring new life in honor of their ancestors here in the birthplace of humanity.
"Happy Planting Day Ceremony" at Old Stone House
Kraig Blue accompanied the ceremony with drumming. Audience members contributed cards dedicated to their deceased ancestors that will be planted at a future ceremony.
"The Ancestral Perennial"
This monument is now on view at Old Stone House This was made in collaboration with Cody Umans, and I carried out the Happy Planting Day ceremony there, on Earth Day, 2023. On this day I planted greeting cards containing African daisies as well as the memories and well wishes from descendents in the honor of deceased ancestors written to inside.
This sculpture represents the 7 continents that humans have traveled to throughout history. Inspired by the Tafaria Castle Museum as well as prior research into early hominid evolution and migration, this work seeks to unite all who visit it. Humans have traversed various ecosystems, terrains, survived potential predators and withstood various natural disasters and global catastrophes throughout our short time here. Due to our evolved brains, we soon became the dominant species of our planet. Throughout this journey, we have adapted to varying climates resulting in differences in phenotype, including skin color, facial structure and body type. We have also developed different cultures, religions and traditional art practices. Despite these differences, we all share roots in Africa, with Kenya being one of the original Hominid birthplaces, having evolved from chimpanzees on this land thousands of years ago. This work represents the inexplicable connection we share as one species that shares 99.9 percent of our DNA with humans across each of the 7 continents.
COPYRIGHT 2023 DARIO MOHR, LLC, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Weaving Our Roots
Created during my residency at Tafaria Castle in Kenya and accompanied by a Happy Planting Day Ceremony with Seed Paper Card Entries from my workshop at Climate Museum planted in front of it.
Welded Metal, and Paint
20ft x 5ft x 5ft
The Acacia tree and the DNA strand are icons, or symbols in Mohr’s work to represent the unity of the African Diaspora across continents. The plant is native to many parts of Africa, but in the United States, it is most associated with Kenya, the birthplace of humanity. This sculpture depicts an Acacia seed pod that has fallen from the sky, in a moment when it is about to land on earth and discourse it’s seeds. The seed pod is composed of a DNA double helix stem attached to an Acacia seed shell body. The DNA stem unwinds as it connects to the shell, forming a ladder with seeds representing different countries of the diaspora descending towards the ground, with one having landed and is about to take root. Each of the 7 seeds brandish a flag of a country of the diaspora. The static sculpture gives the illusion of time as the seeds descend in the order of recent history for Americans and Caribbeans to West Africa and ultimately to Kenya, the birthplace of humanity. That original seed of humankind can be found on the ground and illuminated with light. When viewed from the right angle, the top of the stem can be seen cradling the sun, which plants rely on to take root. Similarly, we as people also rely on the sun to survive and it has illuminated paths we’ve followed throughout history to to attain sustenance and resources, leading us to venturing into different parts of the world. Mohr, as most Black people in the States shares ancestry from West Africa. To inform this project properly, Mohr spent 2022 visiting his recent ancestral land of Grenada in the Caribbean, then the West African Countries: Ghana, Benin, Togo and Nigeria and included these countries in this monument, erected in Kenya in 2023. Unfortunately due to the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade, many in the Diaspora from North America have had their roots severed and are unaware of where in Africa their ancestors came from, but we know that the original roots of humanity trace back to Kenya. I hope that this work serves as a welcoming billboard inviting the diaspora from the US, Caribbean, and even West Africa to see their connection to the fertile soil that gave rise to human kind.
Happy Planting Day Public Monuments
Ladder of Acacia
Official Monument of the Tafaria Castle Arboretum in Kenya
Welded Metal, Paint, Rock
30ft x 13ft x 2 ft
Copyright © Dario Mohr. All rights reserved.