ana macarthur
Mumuru -
victoria amazonica

After two additional molding attempts in a return trip in 2008, MacArthur achieved a successful impression of the giant water lily. Extensive research was done before hand on mold making materials and procedures, with upmost priority given to finding non toxic materials and leaving the sites of molding the plant with no trace that she had been there... no trace of components of the industrialized world. Brazilian friends made during the 1993 trip became critical guides to assisting in the project and finding good locations where the v. amazonica existed. Their caboclo and rubber tapper backgrounds assisted MacArthur in understanding special behaviors of organisms of the rainforest. MacArthur admired and learned from the caboclo and their river knowledge, as well as an expat who had been a rainforest guide for 20 years, as they skillfully assisted her in fetching lily pads, avoiding the demise of piranha and jacare (crocodile).

The two recent excursions to Amazonia, Brazil have expanded MacArthur's knowledge of the significance of sunlight and massive amounts of water that through interplay contribute to the world's richest biodiversity. MacArthur had considered molding the plant in the USA, as it grows in botanical gardens and some private homes, but in the end she felt tremendously drawn to go back to its original home, where she could learn more about its context.
The plant starts as a tuber deep in the mud at the bottom of the river, which sends up 5-6 shoots each yielding eventually an impressive lily pad. These lily pads go through a cycle of replacement every 50-60 days. This understanding alleviated any concern for harming the plant. This plant is not endangered yet MacArthur sees it as a symbol of the biological richness present in this region and cultivated by the steady sunlight throughout the year at this equatorial zone. Through the potential and real destruction due to climate change, millions of years of evolution could
disappear forever.

A series of art works have resulted from this project thus far, "Where Light Meets Water, Mumuru on the Equator, T11a" ,a 15 ft. scroll, and "Where Light Meets Water, Mumuru on the Equator, T12a", an installation including the display of the 5 ft diameter mold of a victoria amazonica lily pad. Called by most of the locals the victoria hegia, the plant was renamed the victoria amazonica years ago. MacArthur references it as Mumuru, the name given it by the Tipi Indians, a tribe who have been some of the longest human inhabitants of the region. MacArthur's interest and work for years integrating the physics of light, comes into relevance as she explores both in this organism and in this larger body of work, the significant role of sunlight within the abundance of life in this bioregion.