AnkhLave Biennial (2023/ 2022): DNA Garden

Making art is like examining one’s own DNA. Those who call themselves artists realize their inspiration stems from a persistent drive. When an idea or action is recurring, it may be alluding to the genetic makeup that defines them.  Going back to one’s ancestry and community is part of this search as it provides additional context to the DNA that was inherited by each artist. The artists on display have each created works related to these themes in both the Queens Botanical Garden and Brooklyn Botanic Garden respectively.

We present “DNA Garden” highlighting the fruition of two year-long artists cohorts for the AnkhLave Garden Project Fellowships, 2022 and 2023.  Like the cyclical growth of a garden, their creative journeys delved into personal histories and experiences while responding to the natural environments. Works crafted to withstand the elements carry the marks of weathering, as well as traces of curious wildlife and inquisitive human visitors. These artists, who were selected from an open call, are BIPOC with ancestries hailing from many corners of the Earth. Through the fellowship’s structure, collaboration and exchange, their unique voices came to the fore. Together, they explored concepts of identity, community, and the parallels between human and botanical life cycles, unfolding the narratives of their outdoor pieces. This first AnkhLave Biennial is a follow up exhibition to the public works they showcased in these botanical gardens where they continuously unfold the legacy of their Indigenous heritages through contemporary art.


Presenting artists include:

2022 AnkhLave Garden Project Fellows who presented at Queens Botanical Garden: Carlos Wilfredo Encarnacion, Yiyi Wei, Ruth Jeyeveeran, M.E. Guadalupe Rubi, and Sherwin Banfield. 

2023 AnkhLave Garden Project Fellows who presented at Brooklyn Botanic Garden: Jasmine Murrell, Natsuki Takauji, Amanda Martinez, Seema Lisa Pandya, and Niceli Portugal 

This Exhibit was Curated by Curator in Residence, Cecilia Andre. AnkhLave was Founded and Directed by Visual Artist, Dario Mohr.

2023 Fellows

Seema Lisa Pandya

Harvest Seeds Of Potential

Richlite (recycled paper and resin), Lunaria seeds, seed husks, and resin

145″Lx 38″h, 6″d.


Niceli Portugal

“Not Only Dreamers Leave”

Canvas, cardboard, plaster cloth, apoxie clay, apoxie resin, thread, jute rope, and gold leaves

Width 48 in x Length 70 in

Take a seat and tie a knot for each person you miss and who is far away.

Toma asiento y haz un nudo por cada persona que extrañes y que esté lejos.



Jasmine Murrell

Sleep Amnesia Series:

Manifest from brown gold, been waiting for you to take your place

soil, wire, clay, straw, canvas


a. Sleep Amnesia Series: #2

Soil, wire, clay, and charcoal


b. Untitled Fist

soil Haiti


Natsuki Takauji

The Heart of the Tree/ Life Lines

Handblown glass, silk tie, garment, rubber, forged and welded steel, and paper

variable – approx. H55”W48” D6”


Amanda Martinez

Untitled Exercise

Hand woven natural reed, and oiled found wood

16.25 x 7 x 7 in / 42.2 x 17.7 x 17.7 cm


2022 Fellows

Sherwin Banfield

“Botanical Boombox: The Boogie Down Bronx”

Wood, acrylic, mason jars, solar powered fairy lights, artificial botanicals, audio & lighting system, and urban miscellaneous items

60”H x 38”W x 20”L


Carlos Wilfredo Encarnación

“Resonantias II.”

Acrylic, annatto powder, ink, spray paint, resin, metal and vinyl.

Size: 4’x4’



Yiyi Wei

“Viscous Earth”

Viscous Earth is a series of interactive scented sculptures. Viewers are encouraged to fully experience the artworks by approaching and smelling the individual pieces.


a. Spirare (to breathe)

Blown glass, aroma molecules, soil, wood, and copper

84” Height X 7” Diameter

b. Inertia (object at rest)

Blown glass, aroma molecules, soil, and wood

48” Height X 6” Length X 6” Width

c. Cohesion (we are watery beings)

Blown Glass, cast glass, aroma molecules, soil, and wood

24” Height X 12” Length X 6” Width

d. Consumption (and to dissipate)

Sculpted glass, mirror, handmade incense, aroma molecules, metal, soil, and wood

5” Height X 48” Length X 5” Width


“Wendigo Piñata”





Ruth Jeyaveeran


Wool, yarn, sticks, stones

12ft x 6ft x 3ft