Love the Everglades Movement + Donna Kalil: Python Huntress Documentary
Gallery 2 + Gallery 3
Sat., June 3 – Sun., Aug. 6, 2023
“I don’t know what it is about the River of Grass, but when you’re out there, conversations inevitably turn to healing and medicine. Water is sacred, and water unites us.” – Love The Everglades Movement
Love the Everglades Movement is an environmental nonprofit established over 10 years ago by Reverend Houston R. Cypress and Jean Sarmiento. The organization encourages education and action on the preservation of the Everglades and looks to Reconciliation as an integral aspect of the Greater Everglades restoration project because of its necessity to integrate indigenous knowledge into the overall process. The information is manifold as it relates to traditional ecological knowledge (such as researching and reintroducing native plants into our ecosystem), the arts (how culture and craft can amplify storytelling), and understanding how language and dialect are inherent to our environmental surroundings. The exhibition at the Center creates a space for learning, engagement, and joy in relationship to the River of Grass.
This exhibition in Gallery 2 at the Center is the sixth of our Oolite Collaborations series with Oolite Arts based in Miami Beach. The exhibition brochure includes an interview with the artists with environmental activist and independent art historian Mary Jo Aagerstoun.
In conjunction with the exhibition, there is an ongoing screening of Python Huntress. Python Huntress is a glimpse into the life of Donna Kali, an environmentalist and Python Elimination Specialist who spends her nights patrolling the Florida Everglades in search of the invasive Burmese Python. Through this documentary short film, learn more about the problem with pythons in South Florida and why for Donna, fulfilling her job responsibilities does not always come easy.
Donna Kalil: Python Huntress is a documentary by Nicholas Orris and Matt Deblinger
The film has been included in The Miami Film Festival, the Gasparilla Int’l Film Festival, the Maryland Int’l Film Fest, Kansas City FilmFest, Florida Film Festival, Int’l Wildlife Film Festival, Palm Beach Int’l Film Fest, Sunscreen Film Festival, FilmGate Festival.
More information can be found at pythonhuntressfilm.com
Reverend Houston R. Cypress is a Two-Spirit poet, artist, and activist, from the Otter Clan of the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida. The artist cites inspiration from the dialectic between sovereignty and boundary dissolution, the biological and technological, and how languages can evoke states of consciousness. He seeks to explore and articulate queer ecological awareness through community-based artistic, mystical, and shamanistic techniques, creating work that appears on paper, on screen, and on the land itself in what he describes as experimental conservation initiatives. In 2022, Cypress was the recipient of The Ellies: Social Justice Award, the Grassroots Activism Award, and the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Poetry Award.
Jean Sarmiento, born in Costa Rica and raised in Miami, is a multidisciplinary artist, small business owner, and co-founder of Love The Everglades Movement. An advocate for the Water and the Florida Everglades, Sarmiento seeks to use Art as a way to frame issues in the River of Grass. Important to his practice is creating, designing, and installing native plant landscapes and pollinator gardens for the beauty and benefit of wildlife and residents of the Urban Matrix. He also enjoys serving as a native plant consultant for artists who seek to integrate plants into their work. Sarmiento is currently creating a series of mosaics made from stained glass and repurposed materials. The artist is interested in the creation of sustainable, functional, and structural mosaics that can champion community, people, and planet.
Mary Jo Aagerstoun is an art historian and environmental activist. She founded EcoArt South Florida, 2008-2015, an ecological art advocacy nonprofit that sponsored over a dozen ecological art projects in Florida. The group’s archives will be housed at the Florida International University library archives in Miami. Dr. Aagerstoun is currently working on a book-length study of 12 ecological art projects, including Love the Everglades Movement. The book will showcase an emerging “entrepreneurial” art practice that fuses “slow activism,” social sculpture and ecological science; and which seeks to reverse designed-in unsustainability. Dr. Aagerstoun’s doctorate (2004) is from the University of Maryland’s Department of Art History and Archeology, with a dissertation on US activist art of the 1980s and 1990s. She lives in West Palm Beach, Florida.