If modern enterprise colonized bodies, territories and the imagination, botany was no different. Numerous plant species, many previously named by original peoples, were (re)christened with misogynist, racist, anti-Semitic and prejudiced names, creating another layer of symbolic violence against identities outside normative and hegemonic models.
A critic of this colonial procedure, the artist Giselle Beiguelman, who after having received a Tradescantia zebrina seedling, commonly known as the Wandering Jew, decided to map hundreds of species of plants subjected to pejorative naming, and then recombined them in a way that produced a veritable decolonialized garden, which articulates political and anesthetic reflections on prejudice, the representation of and relation between culture and nature—which modernity has disassociated.
Intolerance and persecution, as well as resistance and resilience, are central themes of the Jewish experience throughout history, not to mention absolute challenges of our times. The approach to these themes by contemporary art is one of the foundational axes of the Museu Judaico de São Paulo, making it an honor to display the current production of an artist with almost three decades of incessant work in the arts and academia.
It is with enthusiasm that we present Botannica Tirannica, an original exhibition by Giselle Beiguelman produced specially for the MUJ, curated by Ilana Feldman, and the result of an inspiring collaboration between the artist and the institution based on a common and urgent field of study.
We would like to thank our patrons, sponsors, supporters and visitors of the MUJ, on behalf of this museum that, despite its recent inception, has already started on its mission to collectively build new worlds and gardens.
Felipe Arruda, Executive Director
Museu Judaico de São Paulo