Field is a public art project by the artist Christina Kelly.
This summer, she will grow heritage, Native American three sisters gardens
in Boerum Hill and Canarsie, Brooklyn. The garden sites are located
in areas that were historically Indian planting grounds in the 17th
century. The project aims to participate in the continual change that
defines the city by highlighting a historical past then integrating
that history back into the present landscape. The cultivation of this
corn is like a living excavation that can also transform an urban space
in a positive way.
I'm struck by the historical fact that the area now called Boeurm Hill,
Brooklyn, was once highly valued by the native inhabitants as an excellent
place to grow their crops. The contrast between what once was and what
is now feels so extreme. The cornfields are gone without leaving a trace.
This sense that some things disappear seems to be a characteristic of
New York reflected in the quintessential New Yorker comment "this
neighborhood has really changed."
The corn gardens of Maize Field are meant to be a meditation on the
change and displacements that have been part of New York’s history.
At the same time, they symbolize gestures of restoration and resiliency
that are also a part of city life.
Last summer (2009), I planted two "three sisters" gardens
of heirloom Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) varieties. One garden was in collaboration
with Lefferts Historic House in Prospect Park and another with the Waterpod,
a floating barge in NYC. Seeds from these gardens were saved, and some
will be used in this year's gardens. click
here for photo gallery of Prospect Park garden, 2009