Following in Plantain's Footsteps
Participatory performative inquiry
This work takes up Potawatomi botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer's call for settler societies to unlearn the mindset of colonization through learning from plants.
I hosted several happenings for humans to enter into dialogue with the plant known as ‘White Man’s Footprint’ or Common Plantain. Plantain is a non-native plant that followed early European settlers to Turtle Island. It is regarded with the special designation ‘naturalized’, reflecting its ability to co-exist with native ecology in useful and non-invasive ways.
Through attention, drawing and mapping our sensory experience, we conversed with Plantain as a way to explore pathways to being HERE in a time/place of ecological crisis and unresolved settler colonialism.
I created this work in collaboration with Plantain, herbalist Danielle Gehl and respected elder Carol Tyler.
Mashkiki Gitigaan, Guelph 2017. Performed along the Eramosa River with Danielle Gehl.
Lisa Hirmer: Of Containers and Firestarts , Cambridge Galleries 2018. Performed at RARE Charitable Research Reserve with Carol Tyler.
Photos: Chelsea Brant, Lisa Hirmer and Christina Kingsbury.