Inspired by his encounters with butterflies and their connection to medicine plants and healing, the late Mi’kmaq artist Mike MacDonald created pollinator gardens as spaces of care and coexistence. With tender attentiveness to the land and its inhabitants, MacDonald began planting these gardens of Indigenous flora across Turtle Island from 1995-2003. He also created a series of accompanying video works using his documentation of the gardens and their butterflies.
One of the first gardens was located on the Mount Saint Vincent University campus as part of the 1997 exhibition Digital Garden. Working with curator Lisa Myers, this contemporary project revisits that original butterfly garden, seeking to re-activate the quiet, contemplative nature embodied in MacDonald’s work.