Flora Colonica illustrates how environments in Ghana and Denmark have been, and continue to be, colonially entangled. In this instance by the presence of tamarind trees (tamarindus indica). In the montage tamarinds are used as a prism to unfold stories about co-evolving landscapes. How do the trees function as storied matter? That is as active producers of environments and as co-creators of material archives for a humanist production of history today.
The montage consists of three narrative threads:
1: In the Botanical Garden in Copenhagen, in a hothouse in the old colonial metropole, young tamarinds are growing from seeds brough to Denmark by the Queen of Denmark after her state visit to Ghana in 2017. To commemorate the historical relation between the two present-day nation states. The seeds are from an allée in Kponko, planted by Danish colonists along an old existing footpath from the Christiansborg fort on the former Gold Coast up to the Frederiksgave plantation (rebuilt as a common heritage site in 2007), at the foot of the Akwapim mountains. The allée was built to provide shadow and comfort for the colonists when they were carried to the plantation in hammocks by the enslaved.
2: An interview with head of the Botanical Garden in Copenhagen Ole Seberg who tells us about the heart of the botanical garden’s species collection based on plant collections from Guinea by natural scientists and colonial explorers, Paul Isert and Peter Thonning. Seberg compares the Enlightenment spirit of their colonial scientific mapping to the comprehensive atlas of botany, known as Flora Danica, containing folio-sized pictures of all the wild plants native to Denmark.
3: William Nsuiban from the National Museum of Ghana counts the remaining tamarind trees in Kponko considered part of the colonial heritage environment.