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  • Writer's pictureBurcu Çenberci

Honoring Ammi

 50X50cm (Inclusive of trims) Shell Pigment, Gouache and 22 Carat Gold on Acidfree Cardboard.

There is a trail along the coast where I often go for a walk during early summer mornings. Towards the end of the trail there is a row of wild growing Ammi, with their galactic lacy white blooms standing strong against the blue backdrop of the tranquil sea surface they are a soothing feast for my eyes.

This delicate looking yet very sturdy plant is actually an aromatic and has many medicinal properties. It has been used since antiquity for healing various ailments such as kidney stones. Amazingly it can grow up to a meter high. And so is the case along the trail where I walk,

Trough my most recent works I wished to honor Ammi for blessing the dry earth and for beautifying my world. As always the flowers are depicted with my version of Mughal floral style. Designing each plant one by one has been a fun project in itself.

When I was a small child I used to play with a plant very similar to Ammi, called wild carrot (Daucus carota); both of these plants grow naturally in the region along the roadsides, or where the soil is dry, and limy. My grandmother used to tell me a little story of wild carrot passed on either from her mother or from her grandmother: this plant represents purity and over time as the purity of men started to degrade a tiny dark spot appeared in the heart of its blooms. Not sure if it is true or not, however it always amazes me how each plant has a story -folk or mythological- attached to it.

Just as I type these lines I am reminded of a wonderful book called the Endemic Plants of Turkey by Hasan Torlak, Mecit Vural and Zeki Aytaç. It is not a book on botany, rather it tells folk tales, traditional medicinal and culinary uses, mythological stories of Gods, Goddesses and and their association with endemic plants of Turkey found in ancient Anatolian Civilizations such as the Greek, Hittite, and Sumerian. Very enjoyable to read and to find out how these plants formed the names of cities, mountains, food and so on...

Ending with a word from Aristotle:

“In all things of nature, there is something of the marvelous.”

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