Down to Earth

By: Jayleen Wilke, Production Coordinator.

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My favourite part of being on the production team (for 3 years now) will always be the random, but vital, tasks that are required for the success of the festival. This year for Emmanuel Osahor’s exhibit, In Search of Eden, we needed to collect hundreds of native plants to Edmonton to create a giant living wall. In order to do so, Emmanuel got into contact with Cherry Dodd, the president of the Edmonton Native Plant Group, to help gather so many plants. I was lucky enough to go along on the field trip to meet her and I was blown away by her knowledge of plants and her overwhelming generosity.

With my limited knowledge of plants, I was able to learn the basics of transplanting from Cherry and can *almost* remember the names of a few native plants to Edmonton. It’s amazing how hardy our native plants are and how beautiful the root systems are too. But plant knowledge was not the only thing I took away from my interactions with Cherry. By inviting us to her house to do the transplanting, I was able to observe her lifestyle, and it was evident how considerate she was towards our planet. Which was incredibly inspiring and heart-warming to see. Consistently offering tea and cookies, she is easily one of the most down to Earth individuals I have ever met. Pun intended.

I am forever grateful for these opportunities I get to experience with The Works. I hope you will check out Emmanuel’s exhibit on Capital Plaza this year and see all the wonderful native plants!

About the author: Jayleen Wilke is a multidisciplinary artist and designer from Edmonton, Alberta. She recently graduated from the Industrial Design program at the University of Alberta. Her work focuses on incorporating locally found materials into designs and artwork to increase attachment to works through the story behind the materials. Combining her love of adventure and new-found love of geology, she hopes to inspire others to love the Earth as she does, through a mixture of art and design. To contact or check out her work, please visit