Stephanie Lindquist

The ideas of Japanese philosopher scientist Masanobu Fukuoka, Kenyan agricultural scientist Mary Oyiela Abukutsa-Onyango, and Potawatomi scientist Robin Wall Kimmerer have driven my investigation of our relationship to the plants we eat. Individually they have energized the natural farming movement, spearheaded the commercialization of fruits and vegetables indigenous to Africa, and expanded the Western perspective of our relationship to plants. I draw inspiration from farmers and chefs who reclaim their culture’s plants and cuisines like Liberian farmer Morris Gbolo, Peruvian chef Virgilio Martinez Veliz, Oglala Lakota chef Sean Sherman, and my mother Rosalind Lindquist who founded the first West-African restaurant in Los Angeles (1977). My practice examines overlooked sustainable practices like natural farming and eating in the face of massive agribusiness. In 2015 creating a garden and compost with neighbors and reading Fukuoka’s Sowing Seeds in the Desert: Natural Farming, Global Restoration, and Ultimate Food Security transformed my work. His no tilling/ plowing, no fertilizers/ compost, minimal if any weeding, no pesticides, and no pruning method led me to secure two more plots at 103rd St Community Garden and Brook Park dedicated to plants of American and African origin respectively. With research and gardening in Harlem, the Bronx, Costa Rica, and now at the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux farm in Minnesota as my foundation, I create prints, video, photography, and collage that explore how we can root ourselves to the landscape and foster healthier environments and bodies by cultivating diverse plants.

 

After studying undervalued plants and their origins, I collect their image, then cultivate and document them when possible. The FOUNDED series acts as glossy ads to propagate ancient regional palates cultivated by our ancestors that have been overshadowed by modern day cash crops. Growing up eating traditional West African dishes, I was surprised to learn that many ingredients in fact originate in Europe, Asia or the Americas. This inspired me to research plants indigenous to Africa. In a strange twist of fate as seen in (West Africa) Lablab Beans are now mostly cultivated and popular in Asia, while African Rice, once famed along Africa’s Grain Coast has nearly entirely been replaced by Asian White Rice whose taste is often preferred by locals. Celosia, among the most beautiful vegetables in the world is generally sold as an ornamental flower outside the African continent although their flower and leaves are edible and taste similar to Spinach. The works in this series are all named after the plant species they contain and rely on the Linnaen classification system. Although this is the easiest way to research plants within current Western systems of learning, it is problematic to assert colonial names that disregard their indigenous roots.

 

The three stark collagraphs are memento mori. Together this series of nature prints is reminiscent of plant illustrations compiled in colonial Florilegia exploring new worlds. Here I gathered a handful of Winter Rye, Bi-Color Sorghum, and Corn that I grew in my garden plots uptown and carefully attached them to chipboard to make a printing matrix. The resulting black and white collagraph is all that remains of the season’s grain–a living shrine memorializing my cultivation of these plants.

 

Winter Rye: Threshing, Winnowing, Boiling, Eating further reveals our relationship. The previous fall I planted Winter Rye as a cover crop to fertilize next season’s plants. From 103rd Street Community Garden to my mouth, I watch Winter Rye dance in the wind and listen to their berries release to the floor before sifting out the blight and boiling them. Rye Berries burst in my mouth the moment that chewing becomes threshing. Nine months of growing, one hour of threshing, six hours of winnowing, one hour of boiling, ten minutes of eating one bowl of rye. This video is an abbreviated version. In its final presentation time scales are more accurately represented. Where my collages function as regional ads for lesser known plants, this video describes the cyclical, nourishing relationship between human and plant: laborious, time consuming, repetitive, and meditative.

 

Through ancient plants, I am able to think about diaspora, race, gender, sexuality, and capitalism in new ways. In 2017 at The Bronx Museum I exhibited Union–a shrine exploring my parents’ interracial union and the interaction between the global timber industry, Firestone latex plantation, rice, and my grandparents’ memorabilia in relation to the Liberian Civil Wars. Using Ebony (nearly extinct due its illegal logging during the wars), Basswood (my namesake, the sustainably harvested Linden tree), and Jacaranda (the tree flowering outside my childhood bedroom window), I begin to excavate the complicated and disparate histories of race, sustainability and war in my family. This work was a turning point in my practice and led me to my current work which aims to make what has been rendered invisible–ancient plants and their diverse, indigenous, largely female cultivators and their stories–visible.

 

 

Education

BA in Visual Arts and Urban Studies, Columbia University, 2009
MFA in Interdisciplinary Art and Social Practice, University of Minnesota, 2022

Select Exhibitions

Social Objects curated by Emilia Shaffer-Del Valle, CTRL+SHFT, Oakland, CA July 2018 Carry Over: New Voices from the Global African Diaspora curated by Kalia Brooks,

Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY, June 2018
Infinite Archive, New York Public Library, New York, NY, April 2018
Founded, Google, New York, NY, February 2018
Up-Root, Periphery Space, Pawtucket, RI, October 2017
The 4th AIM Biennial, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, The Bronx, NY, July 2017 uptown: nasty women/bad hombres curated by Rocío Aranda-Alvarado,

El Museo del Barrio, New York, NY June 2017
Arte y El Amor, Taller Boricua, New York, NY, November 2016
Frankenstein Admires a Flower, Factory ArtSpace, Brooklyn, NY, September 2016 Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter, New Museum, New York, NY, July 2016 Mystique, St. Joseph’s College Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, March 2016
SPRING/BREAK Art Show, New York, NY, March 2016
Power, Protest, and Resistance, Salena Gallery, Long Island University, Brooklyn, NY,

September 2015
(Con)text: Rethinking Language in Art, San Diego Art Institute, San Diego, CA,

July 2015
Constellations: Stephanie A. Lindquist, Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art,

Staten Island, NY, June 2015 (solo)
Peer Pressure, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York, NY, November 2013 Lebenswelten organized by Christian Awe, Kulturhaus Karlshort, Berlin, Germany,

September 2013
Justice Blind, Corridor Gallery, Rush Arts, Brooklyn, NY, September 2013 ArtShow organized by Mr. Brainwash, Los Angeles, CA, December 2011

Residencies

Editions Program, Wassaic Project, August 2019
Artist in the Marketplace, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Spring 2017 Artist Residency Program, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, April – May 2015 Visiting Artist, American Academy in Rome, 2012-2013

Publications

Lindquist, Stephanie A. and Estelle Maisonett Estelle Maisonett May 2019
Lindquist, Stephanie A. “Upon Their Shoulders.” Nueva Luz Vol 22.2: The Queer Issue

Dec. 2018: 52-54. Print.

Bibliography

Juslin, Inka. “Stephanie A. Lindquist about philosophy of plants and art.” Firstindigo&Lifestyle. Web. 23 June 2018 https://firstindigoandlifestyle.com/2018/06/23/stephanie-a-lindquist-about- philosophy-of-plants-and-art/

Davis, Eva Mayhabal. “An Interview with Stephanie A. Lindquist.” CULTUREWORK. Web. Summer 2018 https://culturework.blog/2018/08/20/an-interview-with- stephanie-a-lindquist/

Talks

QPOC: A Discussion on the Preservation of Photographic Legacies for Queer Artists of Color, Pregones Theater, Bronx, NY, December 2018
Artist Panel for Itinerant Maladies, La Bodega Art Space, Brooklyn, NY, July 2018 Potluck Salon at New Women Space, Brooklyn, NY, November 2017

Guest Lecturer at Columbia University, New York, NY, September 2017
Lucky Sevens: An Art Salon at El Museo del Barrio, New York, NY, November 2016 Mellon Mays Fellow Professional Network Conference, Philadelphia, PA February 2014

Curatorial Projects

Estelle Maisonett Gloria’s Project Space, Queens, May 2019
Persuasive Visions Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance and New York City Dept. of Parks,

Inwood Hill Park, New York, November 2018 – April 2019
STATE PROPERTY Andrew Freedman Home & BronxArtSpace, Bronx, September 2017 BEAT BronxArtSpace, Bronx, January 2017