Åsa Sonjasdotter, the first artist of the artistic research residency The Art of Heritage, has studied the ancient remnants and recalled knowledge and practices on Gotland relating to three relict crops. Emmer wheat has been cultivated on Gotland for the past six thousand years. The “Käiar” potato came to Gotland two hundred years ago in an era of industrial progress and land privatization. The “Bungerova” (Bunge turnip) is a newly bred turnip that emulates ancient, extinct crops and obsolete skills. The artist highlights the way this living cultural heritage –the result of thousands of years of dialogue between humans and plant life in terms of shape, colour and taste – has as much to with nature as culture.
The stories of these cultivated plants, covering a period from the Bronze Age to the present day, are presented in an exhibition at the Gotland Art Museum. Also included are potential, future cultivation methods presented in a compostable installation by Åsa Sonjasdotter.
The title Peace With the Earth refers to a call written by Elisabeth Tamm, farmer and member of the Swedish parliament and the Swedish author Elin Wägner in 1940. Their proposal of realistic and sustainable solutions for how humankind can coexist with earth has been a starting point for the research of Åsa Sonjasdotter. In the Peace with the Earth project the artist wishes to convey and respond to the call of Tamm and Wägner through the exhibition, the cultivation of the researched crops in the garden of the nineteenth century farmstead at the Bunge Museum and and in the Region of Gotland’s wheelbarrows in Visby, and a programme of talks and events.