Maurirtius, land of the Dodo is very much alive
I spent a few weeks in Mauritius entranced by its lush tropical vegetation, I lost myself in the palm canopies. They have not had a tropical cyclone in over 10 years so the trees have grown and grown. Thanks to El Nino, it was also blisteringly hot. I spent quite a bit of my time on the island looking up into darkened foliage. I am fascinated by large tropical leaves, so unlike the smaller temperate leaves found in the northern hemisphere. See for example the leaves of the jack fruit plant. Very reminiscent of 'Where the wild things are' very dream like. Where is Max, hero of the Wild Things?
Large leaves enable the plants to transpire in the heat, these are living, breathing creatures. One half expects a dinosaur to pop its head round one of these voluminous trees.
Armed with my Cannon, I was looking for patterns and textures dappled with dancing light, across these magnificent trees. One of my favourites was a young, vibrantly green, palm tree, low enough for me to take some abstract images of its fronds. Some of these even managed to look industrial in look and feel.
I also got very wrapped up in a palm heart, this is typically grown on the island to then be cooked and eaten in a gratin. It’s a shame as the tree gets destroyed in the process. The hearts are strange tentacle looking beast, cherished by large yellow wasps for their habitat. So with trepidation, I start moving around these heart trying to get the best angle. Hoping I don’t anger the wasps in the searing heat.
Tropical botanicals are very on trend right now, but having grown up on a tropical island, plants were always on my radar, especially with a botanist father and a gardening mad mother. From a very young age, I was taught the difference between the different plants, a fond childhood memory was going out on a family outing just after a violent tropical storm to visit a ‘fleure cyclone’ literally a cyclone flower. This is a very special plant that only flowers after being battered to bits after a raging tropical storm.
Back at my London studio I started transposing these plant images into domestic, urban or commercial setting. I was thrilled with the results, a touch of the exotic injected into your sitting room or office. It brings vibrancy, excitement into any given space. Especially in a pared back, minimal room, adding texture and light into that room. Either using an image that is blown up to cover the entire wall, adding a surreal dream-like feel to the room, or as wall art in a reception area or above a bed. Both work well in very different ways. It all depends what you wish to achieve with your interior décor.