Kalle Hamm’s and Dzamil Kamanger’s Immigrant Garden collection of pieces (the book, art works and plants with signs in the manor grounds) was originated while the artists were resident artists at the Saari Residence in spring 2016.
“Immigrant Garden is composed of 32 images of plants showing invasive species and texts that explain their journey from different continents all the way to Mietoinen and the Saari Residence. The original images are placed in different buildings of the Saari Residence. The texts can be read on the signs on the mansion grounds and in the book.
We produced our first conceptual garden, The Immigrant Garden, for the Sato/Harvest exhibition in Fiskars in summer 2007. Since then, we have also produced other similar gardens for exhibitions in Finland and abroad. The Immigrant Garden is a kind of summary of the reflections over the years about plants as a metaphor for otherness and about how people should face plants and various othernesses alike.
As it welcomes international artists and researchers, the Saari Residence is a constant stage of arrivals and departures, with invasive species taking their place and role.
The selection of the 32 plants in the herbarium was based on their origin; none of the species are native to Finland. They are all either ancient or recent introductions, and many of them have been growing here for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Another requirement was that the plant was growing on the grounds of the Saari Residence at the time the herbarium was made.
Not all invasive species that grow on the grounds were included in the herbarium. For example, species that originate in Southern Europe and that grow in Finland as invasive species were excluded. Selection was also made on the basis of historic sources, curiosities and the location of the plants in the mansion grounds. However, the initial setup of putting together a collection of plants was problematic: a human decides the stories that are told.
Of the 32 plants in the herbarium, 18 are native to Asia, five to Eurasia, two to Europe, five to North America, one to both Europe and North America, and one to both Asia and North America. Plants originating in Africa, South America and Oceania were not found.
Kalle Hamm has drawn the pictures on English parchment made of calfskin using Iranian handmade drawing pens made with plant extracts.”
Kalle Hamm & Dzamil Kamanger