Xavier Cortada, "FLOR 500: Red Mangrove," digital art, 2011 (CC).
About the artist
Miami artist Xavier Cortada created art installations at the North Pole and South Pole to address environmental concerns at points in between. In Florida, he’s developed participatory eco-art projects to engage others in bioremediation. Launched in 2006, his Reclamation Project volunteers have reforested eight acres of mangroves along Florida’s coasts.
Ponce de Leon probably first saw mangroves. Their propagules drop down and, like those who’ve journeyed here, wash ashore and take root. Mangrove roots symbolize our interconnectedness: Floridians build stronger communities by reaching out to others, as the mangrove roots’ "walking feet” do in building formidable structures that nurture new life.
FLOR500 is a participatory art, nature, and history project that marks the importance of the moment when the history of Florida changed forever and gives a glimpse of what its landscape was like 500 years ago. Developed by Xavier Cortada, director and artist-in-residence of FIU’s College of Architecture + The Arts’ Office of Engaged Creativity, the project commemorates Florida’s quincentenary in 2013.