Medicine Garden is a living sculpture featuring four powerful plant allies growing among functional sculptural elements, includes clay pot irrigation and cut metal way-finding sign posts: a place for healing and workshops centering Indigenous sacred interactions with living land and medicinal properties of plants. With focus on Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican medicinal traditions, included plants–mugwort/, joe-pye weed/Pkuwiimakw, yarrow/Wtakiipakw, and bee balm/Wteehaskwal–have inter-tribal and cross-cultural resonance (Cook, 2015).
Created by eco-artist Azuré Keahi with the support of eco-artist Ellie Irons (NATURE Lab Science Educator/Lab Manager), the sculpture’s quadrant design, with four growing beds arranged in a circle ringed by ollas (clay pots), provides focal point for a series of plant and land-centric gatherings that honor Indigenous pasts and presents on this land as we dream and build towards Indigenous futures.
Azuré Keahi is a mixed race mother, grower, writer, creator and record keeper of Kanaka ‘Ōiwi, Filipino, Samoan and European ancestry based on Mohican soils of Upstate New York. Transitioning from the landscape of the Koʻolau Mountains to the Hudson Valley of the Northeast, she began to explore earthwork as healing for herself and the surrounding community led by her commitment to food sovereignty and intersectional justice.
Azuré Keahi nurtures the Sanctuary for Independent Media’s block-wide, public food forest and demonstration garden, Collard City Growers, designing and realizing way-finding, signage, and garden layouts for earth-based learning and collaboration. With a focus on land-based learning, she has collaborated with local artists and creatives to create experiential installations and performances ranging from a bee hive relocation procession to a multimedia sensory baptism. Her stories of diaspora,ʻāina-based healing and ancestral reunion have been published in The Greenhorns’: New Farmer’s Almanac, Tropic Magazine, GRIST, Atmos and The Daily Yonder. Having managed a food business in NYC, farmer’s markets for Denison Farm, holding worker-ownership at Capital Bookkeeping Cooperative, and having served as the Business Manager of Soul Fire Farm, she brings the gifts of her ancestors and is guided by diverse experience and history in her development of land-based and experiential learning, art, design, and writing.