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Abundant Future: Cultivating Diversity in Garden, Farm, and Field


Seedheads of Raffia

Raphia taedigera

For ten years I had a stand with my artwork at the Chelsea Flower Show. It was an exciting time for me to meet art collectors, fellow artists, and plant growers and it was a good place to hunt for subjects for my future paintings. The best were the fruits and seedheads, so I could store them and paint them at some future date. At one of those shows I acquired a big cutting of raffia with mature seed cones and for many years it was displayed with other treasures from my travels, which are all over my house. Meanwhile I was busy painting magnolias for my book. When the subject for the Fourth NYBG Triennial Exhibition was announced I knew right away that the time had finally come to paint the raffia seedheads. But I also knew that this was going to be a most complex and time-consuming work to undertake.

I had no problem with the composition as I had only one branch with many cone-like seadheads. In the cold and gloomy mid-December 2019, I started measuring and sketching all parts of the raffia. Attached to an 18-inch long bunch there are over twenty 2.5-inches long cylindrical shiny cinnamon-colored seed pods. They are crowded and arranged at different angles to each other. I used watercolor paint in shade of sienna, ochre and amber.

I hope that people looking at my painting will not only appreciate my work but also take an interest in the raffia and the huge variety of products that are made from this one plant. Various species of raffia are widely grown in tropical countries of Africa, Asia and Central and South America and are essential in everyday life as building materials, utensils and ornaments. In today’s world, which is ruled by plastic, we should be more appreciative of products made using this bio-degradable plant material.


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Read more about this artist’s work: 20th Annual

Abundant Future-OOzeerally raffia

Raphia taedigera

Seedheads of Raffia

Watercolor on paper

19 x 11 inches

©2020 Barbara Oozeerally

2024 ASBA - All rights reserved

All artwork copyrighted by the artist. Copying, saving, reposting, or republishing of artwork prohibited without express permission of the artist.

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