ana macarthur
1993: A Seed Planted -
2007-2008: a return to the Amazon

In 1993 MacArthur had the first opportunity to go to the Amazon rainforest of Brazil . Invited by a doctor friend who had worked in the Amazon in the early 80's and who wanted to share his concern for the destruction of the Amazon, simultaneously educating MacArthur and a few others who accompanied, about its remarkable abundance of species. MacArthur became awestruck by the giant water lily, the victoria amazonica, averaging 3-5 ft in diameter. With childhood experiences of pressing plants, she immediately comprehended that what she was viewing was ancient, intelligent, and a product of a prolifically fertile zone. ...the equatorial belt and home to a grand tropical rainforest. During this trip she had many profound experiences that riveted her with the particular richness of the equatorial sunlight. An artwork made in 2002 propelled her back into preoccupations with the Amazon and eventually swelled to the point of organizing for a return in March of 2007, and physically commencing a larger project.

During MacArthur's first flight over the Amazon in
1993 she was incredibly moved by the view from
the airplane of the endless expansive, green mass
of the worlds great rainforest, of which for years
she had heard so much about. Having been raised
with a strong ecological concern for the inherent
protection of "the wild", and having flown many
places over the planet, she was struck by the
hours upon hours of flying over the green expanse
of forest, untouched by man made "development."
Years later in 2007 and 2008 the same air flight struck MacArthur with equal piercing impact... the same strong emotion to the sight of such an expanse untouched. In an epiphany of witnessing the uniqueness of this expanse of photosynthetic became clear that this was something humankind truly must preserve. A view of a period on the earth before rapid destruction and conquest of land changed drastically our landscape and equally our relationship to nature.

For the 2007 trip she had done preliminary research on the victoria amazonica and brought with her an assortment of molding materials which then in Brazil had to be used with much improvisation. During 2006 she had interviewed various biologists and contacted sources she had in Brazil to work out assistance. The first phase and goal of this project entailed making a complete mold of one of the 5 ft diameter lily pads. In Brazil Mac Arthur continued research with biologist about the idiosyncrasies of this organism, and consulted IBAMA (The Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources) making sure that the plant was not endangered. During the 2007 trip three mold attempts were made, with many trials and tribulations, and vital experiences in understanding this organism in context.