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Exponential Taxonomies

 

photographic series and etchings, 2013

In the imagery live plants and cut-outs of botanical illustrations commissioned by William Farquhar in Singapore and Malacca are combined, contrasting their material qualities.

The WIlliam Farquhar collection of botanical drawings  commissioned between 1819 and 1823 is a national treasure of Singapore, recording early 19th century flora and Fauna of the Malay Peninsula.

Its distinct style is the result of being created by largely unnamed local artists trying to approximate the realism of European botanical drawing style.

I was fascinated with how closely the development of natural history archives and documentation in the tropics was tied to imperial domination and research for economic profit, as much as evidence of individual scientific interest exists. A beloved archive is also shadowed by the subsequent disappearance of many of the plants and creatures it depicts.