Join Rebecca Beinart for a drop-in workshop to sift through images and get intimate with the Elephant's Foot Yam. We will make drawings of the plant from dried samples, herbarium copies and a rich array of archival material. Whilst we draw we will piece together the story of the wild yam, indigenous uses and knowledge, colonial plant-hunting and taxonomy, its use in pharmaceutical drug manufacture, and issues around contemporary conservation.
In the 1950s, the Wellcome Foundation was still cultivating Ergot – a parasitic fungus – for use in making pharmaceutical drugs. The story of this fungus connects fascinating themes including the edge between poison and medicine; witchcraft; midwifery, gendered knowledge and reproductive rights. During this workshop, participants will have the opportunity to work with visual material from the archive, and create models based on the parasitic fungus. Whilst making together we will explore the themes brought up by the story of ergot.