Ancestral Journeys: About


“Ancestral Journeys” exhibit at Deering Estate
1/31/2010 to 2/26/2010

When: Opening reception:
Sunday, January 31st, 2010 from 7 to 9 pm

Where: Deering Estate
16701 SW 72nd Avenue
Palmetto Bay, Florida  33157-2500
United States

Contact: Jennifer Tisthammer, Director of Exhibits (

Sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

5b-ecuador-ancestral journeysFor our ancestors, the natural world was the only world. They navigated through it —slowly moving where nature provided them with better opportunities to hunt and gather. That slow motion movement led a group of my ancestors to chase reindeer through Siberia and across the Bering Straits about 12,000 years ago.

As that clan populated this hemisphere, one of their progeny found themselves hunting and gathering in the place we now call Deering Estate. An archeological dig nearby captures the person’s 10,000 year-old remains along with those of the animals the family members hunted.

Xavier Cortada

About the Exhibit

5a-republica_dominicana ancestral journeysAncestral Journeys:

In developing the works for the “Ancestral Journeys” installations and performances at Deering Estate, Xavier Cortada is using DNA to trace the ancestral journeys of people living in Miami.  Cortada collected and interpreted the DNA samples in collaboration with National Geographic’s Genographic Project [1].

Reclamation Project at Deering
Helping restore the native canopy:

The Reclamation Project Urban Reforestation campaign 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 image to the left).  Through signage, visitors 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).

img_3278_copyAbout 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.

(Please click here to download project PDF)