The White Mulberry Project is part of Serena Kovalosky’s Eco-Garden Project, a multi-year, multi-disciplinary exploration of plants, history and humanity.
Since 2020, Serena has identified over 50 plant species through rewilding efforts on her property in rural upstate New York. These discoveries will move beyond the science of identification and will be further explored through sculpture, wildcrafting, storytelling and culinary arts.
The most surprising botanical discovery was a small grove of white mulberry trees that appeared when Serena allowed a section of the backyard to grow wild. Further research revealed strong connections to the local silk industry and immigration from the 1800s to the early 1900s.
In 2023 Serena was awarded a $10,000 New York State Rural & Traditional Arts Fellowship, administered by the Arts Council for Wyoming County in partnership with the New York State Council on the Arts, to further her research into the White Mulberry Project and to create artwork from her explorations.
For the Fellowship, Serena will create two pieces of artwork: one from foraged white mulberry materials through traditional wildcrafting techniques, and a contemporary sculptural piece reflecting the tree’s link to the silk industry.
This project will take a deep dive into creating from a “sense of place” through the lens of the natural world in her own backyard which will result in sculptures and stories that will connect people with art and the land in this rural community.
A public exhibition, A Silk Road Runs Through It, and a presentation of The White Mulberry Project will be held at the the artist’s Eco-Garden in Whitehall, New York on August 26, 2023. The artwork will later be exhibited at the Whitehall Free Library through October 2023.
Funding for this project is made possible with support from the New York State Council on the Arts with support from the Governor’s office and the New York State Legislature.
CLICK on the image to view a STORY-BOX of photos, stories and the creative process on The White Mulberry Project.
“The discovery of white mulberry on my property after decades of being hidden beneath the soil is symbolic of how our history has been lost with subsequent generations. I hope this project inspires people to go home to their own backyards to see what stories they can find under their feet that can connect them with their own places through the land.”