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South Beach to be “reclaimed” for mangroves during Art Basel 2006

April 22, 2006 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

the reclamation project

South Beach to be “reclaimed” for mangroves during Art Basel 2006

Miami Beach, FL —-Miami artist Xavier Cortada is working with volunteers on Miami Beach to raise environmental awareness through the creation of a major public art project called The Reclamation Project.  The artist will dramatize the destruction of the native mangrove forest with an installation consisting of over 2,500 mangrove seedlings in clear cups to be displayed in the windows of South Beach business from November through January.  At the end of the project, the seedlings will be collected and used to reforest a portion of Biscayne Bay.

In a 1915 photo, Miami Beach founder Carl Fisher poses with Rosie the elephant as they help clear the “swamps” to make way for Lincoln Road.  We now know that these mangrove forests are vital to establishing a healthy habitat for marine life, birds and other animals.  Through the project, Cortada, hopes “to remind us we must learn to coexist with nature in our urban settings, instead of relegating it to nature preserves.”

A pre-Art Basel reception for the project volunteers is scheduled for December 5th, 2006 from 8p to midnight at Bill Baggs State Park in Key Biscayne, featuring Full Moon tours of the Cape Florida Lighthouse.

The Reclamation Project was launched at the opening of an installation by the same name exhibited at the Bass Museum of Art  from April 22nd, Earth Day, until May 17th, 2006.  To learn more, please click below.

 bass invite |  installation | de-installation | reforestation


The project is presented by Citizens for a Better South Florida and  the Miami-Dade County Department of Environmental Resources Management (DERM), with the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve/State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the City of Miami Beach and the Environmental Coalition of Miami Beach (ECOMB).  In-kind support and funding is also provided by a host of community organizations, corporations and foundations.

To learn more about the project including volunteer opportunities and event dates and locations contact artist.




Artist’s Statement

The Reclamation Project aims to remind us of what our community was like before all the concrete was poured.  Through this installation, mangrove seedlings will conceptually reclaim an island where they thrived a few decades ago.  Their reforestation will create a mangrove colony on Biscayne Bay, eventually rebuilding natural ecosystems above and below the water line.  Through this process I explore our ability to coexist with the natural world.

About the Artist

Xavier Cortada was born in Albany, New York and was raised and lives in Miami. The Cuban-American artist holds three degrees from the University of Miami. His work has been shown across four continents and is in the permanent collection of The World Bank.  Major collaborative art projects include International AIDS murals in Switzerland and South Africa, peace murals in Northern Ireland and Cyprus and child welfare murals in Bolivia and Panama.

Through his art, he attempts to reclaim Florida’s fertile past. The concrete columns that hold up I-95 through downtown Miami now bear Cortada’s mark: in 2004, he led volunteers in painting colorful mangrove seedlings on columns across four neighborhoods, a metaphoric re-foresting of Miami. He has elaborated on the mangrove metaphor in murals he created for Miami City Hall, the Miami-Dade County Commission Chambers, the Florida Capitol, and the Museum of Florida History.

For more information, please visit www.cortada.com.


April 22, 2006
8:00 am - 5:00 pm


Bass Museum of Art
2121 Park Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139 United States
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