A BOTANICAL GARDEN /
AN ARTISTIC-BOTANICAL PARK
During the last 2021 equinox, which signals the end of winter and the beginning of the flower season, Usina Santa Terezinha was the stage for an artistic performance that called attention to the power of cycles and transformations. There, beneath the soil that most produced alcohol and sugar in Brazil in the 1950s, artist Denise Milan simulated the cooking of sugarcane juice in a “pot” dug out of the earth until it was transformed into an edible crystal.
In the final act, the amber colored crystallized candy was given to the ants on a table occupied by crystals and Brazilian stones that make up the work “Earth Banquet”, signed by the São Paulo native. “They will feed on this sugar, taking it back to the earth. To survive, matter flows”, Milan summed up, telling us about the organic cycle, a metaphor of this place that lived glorious times, went through decadence, and was reborn through art.
This is the purpose of the Artistic-Botanical Park of the Usina de Arte: to conciliate a double character of botanical garden and contemporary art museum, being the most visible part of the project. An old sugarcane mill that has acquired a new function as a space, with objectives focused on the preservation, and return, of the fauna and flora, through a permanent reforestation process of its more than 30 acres and also the surrounding area. More than five thousand species, especially native ones, have been planted since the project began in 2015, replenishing the local landscape.
As in the cycle taught to us by the ants, the Usina gives back to the soil that enabled its conquests and development of its most intrinsic force as a landmark of its new era. This time, with a landscape that frames more than 40 works of art and artistic installations, such as the one by Denise Milan. Besides her, the Parque Artístico-Botânico has in its collection important names from the regional, national, and international artistic scene. Examples are Paulo Bruscky, Regina Silveira, José Rufino, Georgia Kyriakakis, Saint Clair Cemin, José Spaniol, Juliana Notari, Flávio Cerqueira, Bené Fonteles, Hugo França, Matheus Rocha Pitta, Marcelo Silveira, Liliane Dardot, Marcio Almeida, Frida Baranek, Júlio Villani, Iole de Freitas, Vanderley Lopes, among many others. All in tune with the artistic curatorial proposal to promote the ethnic and aesthetic identities of our country’s cultural repertoire and the history of the region where it is located.