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Ancestral Journeys and Reclamation Project exhibit at Deering Estate

January 31, 2010 @ 8:00 am - February 26, 2010 @ 5:00 pm

Ancestral Journeys

(click here to learn more about the exhibit)

For 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


Reclamation Project at Deering

(click here to download PDF)

Helping restore the native canopy:

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 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).

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.

ArtSoBay Exhibit Opening

Sunday, 1/31/2010

7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Free. Open to the public.

Join us for the ArtSoBay Exhibit Opening with a progressive evening of art, history, and entertainment! Xavier Cortada will present his genographic project, “Ancestral Journeys,” a series of installations and performances using DNA to trace the ancestral journeys of people living in Miami. Guest juror, Bernice Steinbaum in partnership with LegalArt and the Deering Estate at Cutler presents a group art exhibit in the Stone House, Richmond Cottage and main grounds of the Estate. Artists in Residence – Jennifer Basile, Deena Blazejack, Cherie Clark, Ingrid Eliasson, and Vickie Pierre will present a culmination exhibit of their past year’s work while in residence on the Estate. Vignettes in the Courtyard will be featured by the Greater Miami Youth Symphony and the Miami Dade College Theatre Department.

Xavier Cortada’s “Ancestral Journeys Exhibit will be on display at the Deering Estate through February 26, 2010. The exhibit is free with regular admission to the Estate. In developing the works for the “Ancestral Journeys” installations and performances, Cortada will be using DNA to trace the ancestral journeys of people living in Miami. Cortada will do so through the Genographic Project. The site-specific works Cortada proposes to install and perform during February 2010 include: The Ancestral Dinner Party, Ancestral Journeys and Ancestral Miami. The artwork shows the interconnectedness between those who came from different countries across the Hemisphere to build their lives in Miami and their relationship to the natural world. In their blood they capture evidence of the routes their deep ancestors took in response to climatic changes from their original journey out of Africa 60,000 years ago. Looking at their biology to explore how nature influenced human history, the art piece will use genetic data to create a portrait of Miami’s community. Visit  Xavier Cortada’s website for more information. 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.

The SoBay Festival of the Arts was created in 2006 to raise awareness of the visual, literary and performing arts in the South Miami-Dade community and to promote the missions of partnering organizations. The SoBay Festival of the Arts is an annual celebration of the literary, performing and visual arts. The overarching goal for SoBay Festival of the Arts is to provide an opportunity for the community to come together through the arts. We strive to include events that appeal to a wide range of audiences of all ages.


January 31, 2010 @ 8:00 am
February 26, 2010 @ 5:00 pm


Jennifer Tisthammer, Director of Exhibits


Deering Estate
16701 SW 72nd Ave
Palmetto Bay, 33157 United States
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(305) 235-1668
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