Fresh Art International

Fresh Art International header image 1

Robert Chambers on Art, Ancient Plants, and New Technologies

March 4th, 2019

Miami-based sculptor Robert Chambers lived in Everglades National Park for one month in 2018, as a Fellow in the Artist in Residence in Everglades program.

In the darkness outside his studio one night, the artist tripped on the roots of an ancient plant: The Saw Palmetto (in Latin, Serenoa repens), That’s when a hidden world began opening up to him.

In fact, the small palms are everywhere you look, native to the subtropical wilderness. The leaves are woven into the thatched roofs of indigenous pavilions you’ll find in Big Cypress, a wetlands preserve north of the national park. In some parts of the world, saw palmetto berries are cherished for their healing properties.

We meet Robert Chambers to explore his exhibition titled Serepens at the AIRIE Nest, an art gallery inside the Visitor Center. AIRIE curator Deborah Mitchell and two environmental scientists who’ve inspired his new body of work are here, too. Botanist Walter Abrahamson has been researching the saw palmetto for forty years. Hilary Swain directs the Archbold Biological Station, a center dedicated to research and conservation in the South Florida watershed.

Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio

Related Episodes: Deborah Mitchell: The Artist as Guide to the EvergladesJenny Larsson on Searching for Arctic WinterAdam Nadel on Getting the Water RightArtist Residency in the EvergladesArt and the Environment at Miami's Deering EstateJorge Menna Barreto on Environmental SculptureAndrea Bowers on Environmental Activism

Related Links: Artist in Residence in Everglades (AIRIE)Everglades National ParkRobert ChambersArchbold Biological Station