Installations at Deering Estate
“Ancestral Dinner Party”
In the Deering Estate kitchen, Miami artist Xavier Cortada will exhibit The Ancestral Dinner Party, hand painted ceramic plates depicting the ancestral journey’s of present day Miami residents. Documentary video and signage will also be displayed.
Performative component: On February 13th, 2010, participants will be invited to the Deering Estate share a meal. Seeing their respective dinner plates and the markers depicted therein, participants will reflect upon and discuss when it was that their ancestors last shared a meal together before going their separate ways to populate the planet in response to calls from the natural world.
“Ancestral Journey Installations”
Cortada will create white flags depicting the ancestral journeys of Miamians, each flag will be arranged along a path to reference the global journey of our ancestors in Africa 60,000 years ago as they populated the planet. There would be two paths, depending on what DNA tests were used to assess the participants ancestry. 
- “The Ancestral Journey Installation: Paternal Lineage” (Y-Chromosome DNA): White flags arranged sequentially across Deering Estate to depict the global migration path of the paternal ancestors of local men (who were born in different countries across the Western Hemisphere) as, in response to climate change across the millennia, they populated our planet. (Performative component: On February 13th, 2010, participants will be invited to walk the path and see their flags at the respective locations along the “migratory route.” Conceptually, in this performance piece, the men walking through nature, following in the footsteps of their fathers.)
- “The Ancestral Journey Installation: Maternal Lineage” (Mitochondial DNA): White flags arranged sequentially across Deering Estate to depict the journeys taken by the maternal ancestors of local Miamians (who were born in different countries across the Western Hemisphere) as, in response to climate change across the millennia, they populated our planet. (Perfomative component: On February 13, 2010, participants will be invited to walk the path and see their flags at the respective locations along the “migratory route.” Conceptually, in this performance piece, the men and women walking through nature, following in the footsteps of their mothers.)
Reclamation Project Urban Refortestation
By depicting the our ancestor’s migratory journeys over the past 60,000 as they populated this planet in response to environmental conditions, I aim to change the way we see each other vis a vis the natural world.
The Reclamation Project Urban Reforestation campaign (see http://www.reclamationproject.net/?U_index) is the eco-art bioremediation component of this project.
Adult specimens of native trees will be “exhibited” with a green flag across Deering Estate (see sample below). Through signage and exhibits in the Rock House library and the Visitor’s Center, participants will be encouraged to plant a native tree sapling and green flag in their home. (Small flags will be available for them to purchase onsite at the Visitor’s Center).
About the project:
Miami artist Xavier Cortada created this urban reforestation eco-art project to help restore native habitats for plants and animals in urban areas.
Participating residents are asked to plant a native tree alongside the green project flag in their front yard and state:
“I hereby reclaim this land for nature.”
The project’s conspicuous green flags serve as a catalyst for conversations with neighbors, who will be encouraged to join the effort and help rebuild their native tree canopy one yard at a time.
Ideally, as they watch each tree grow, their interest in the environment will also grow.
 Male participants can discover their ancestral heritage by either testing the genetic markers in the Y-Chromosome DNA (paternal lineage) or mitochondrial DNA (maternal lineage). Female participants can only have their mitochondrial DNA tested (maternal lineage).