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Violetta - Img0420.jpg
Violetta - Fungal sunset.tif
Fungal sunset
Theme
Bacteria & Fungi
Type 

Photograph
Year

2020
Patcha-mama
Theme
Bacteria & Fungi
Type 

Mixed media on canvas
Year

2020
Violetta - Fungal dawn.tif
Fungal dawn
Theme
Bacteria & Fungi
Type 

Photograph
Year

2020
Inspiration and composition

 

Violeta sees her Andean culture as a symbol of the strong alliance between local people, soil, crops, and microbes. This alliance is symbolized in her artwork Pacha-mama by a mix of wool, wood, pastel, dry leaves and paint. Different materials and techniques form one art piece - like all the different microbes form one soil system. 

In ‘Pacha-mama’ a mother represents the earth “Pacha”. She symbolizes the wisdom of the soil system which provides us food and health. The child in her arms represents future generations. The mother and child are connected to the abundant microbes which are building the soil – the fundamental base for life. Microbes play a key role in the soil’s structure and functioning. For millennia, many cultures have lived in equilibrium with these kinds of ecosystems. 

“When I was a child, my grandmother was living on a hill in the countryside. She was a hard-working woman. I remember she was wearing traditional clothes from the Andes, a wide dark skirt and her hair in braids. 

She could climb so well, like a goat. For me she was a symbol of life, of women working with the soil. When I started my research on soil structure, I could imagine the fungi helping my grandmother grow the corn and potatoes. Like a network of life.” 

The photographs ‘Fungal Dawn’ and ‘Fungal Sunset’ represent the beginning and end of a symbolic day for the fungal community in the soil. They have similar necessities like human beings: they need nutrients, water and an optimal physical environment to live most successfully. 

Violeta sees symbolism in her photographs. In ‘Fungal Dawn’ she shows a community of fungi, among which Penicillium sp. and Gliocladium sp. She imagines that they are waking up to greet to the sun. Violeta symbolizes the end of the day in Fungal Sunset. The sun - here represented by Talaromyces sp. - is making its last effort to illuminate the earth, oceans, and living beings. The soil is thankful, and the fungi will have a last talk before they go to 

The artist

About Violeta Carmen Angulo Fernández 

Violeta researches bacteria and fungi on soil aggregation under drought, within the PhD program Environmental Biology. In Bolivia - her home country - drought is a big issue. Violeta states that interaction between bacteria, fungi and other microbes can help to mitigate the climate change and drought - one of the most challenging phenomena for crops in many countries. 

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