Materials: Pencil, pigment ink, water colour on Fabriano paper, certificate of moral ownership Perpetual Amazonia
Dimensions: 30 x 30 cm (32 x 32 cm framed)
Exhibition history: 2016 City Art Gallery and Museum Peterborough, UK; 2014 Parc de la Villette Paris, France
Courtesy: Lucy + Jorge Orta
Inspired by the artists' expedition to the Peruvian Amazon in 2009, Seed Bank is a growing collection of watercolour drawings of seeds, pollen and tubers, which have been meticulously enlarged to draw attention to the intricate beauty and diversity of our natural world. This metaphorical seed bank seeks to 'preserve' varieties that may be threatened with extinction, advocating for the safeguard of biodiversity, alongside the necessary wisdom and imagination to do keep species from disappearing.
In 2013 the United Nations stated that although the world contains 30,000 edible plants, only 30 crops account for 95% of the energy in human food. Even more frightening, 75% of plant diversity has been irreversibly lost over the last 100 years. The world has become increasingly dependent on broadly-adapted, high-yield crops to the exclusion of varieties adapted to local conditions. Mono-cropping vast fields with genetically uniform seeds requires expensive chemical fertilizers and toxic pesticides. As the world's population of seven billion expands to nine billion by 2050, availability and access to food will become more urgent and food production will have to increase two-fold to keep up with demand.