Lennert De Vroey

residency, NWNM

For ‘Palm’ (working title), Lennert De Vroey delves into palm trees. Their waving leaves and rich harvests are reminiscent of both Paradise and Plantation. Palms are a symbol for the ‘South’, and thus perhaps also say something about how we often look at that South: as a holiday resort, as well as the orchard of the world (today primarily for palm oil).

The palm tree transformed from a tree of life (the oil palm in West Africa, the date palm in the Middle East, the coconut palm on the Pacific islands) into an often displaced cash crop; it moved from the heart of nature to the core of plantation capitalism. In The Abandonment of a Continent, Uruguayan Eduardo Galeano explains “the poverty of the people as a consequence of the wealth of the land”. For how are perceptions of the South on one side, and its exploitation on the other, related?

Using palm trees, Lennert wants to reflect on his own relationship to the South, as a consumer in a globalised economy. He uses his research more broadly to experiment with the role of food in a performative context. ‘Palm’ is evolving towards a lecture-performance.