The Chicago Botanic Garden and DuSable partner to host joint exhibition
The Chicago Botanic Garden and DuSable Museum of African-American History partner to host joint exhibition “Places for the Spirit: Traditional African American Gardens.” The exhibit shares its name with photographer Vaughn Sills's book of more than 80 black and white photos featuring Southern gardens and their creators. Patches in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina are highlighted.
"There are many different styles of gardens in the world,” says Dawn Bennett Chicago Botanic Garden exhibitions and programs production manager. “African American gardens differ from other traditional American gardens, but have significant meaning and beauty nonetheless."
The display primarily consists of Sills’s images, with the exception of Chicago Botanic Garden’s living garden, a 10-foot square bed constructed from repurposed materials. Many of these folk gardens captured by Sills include oddities such as old toilets and car tires used as planters, bottles believed to trap evil ghosts and pipes thought to allow for communicating with ancestral spirits. Some of those items seem like they come from left field, but they’re rooted in early beliefs and customs dating back to antebellum slavery.