MOCA Curator Adeze Wilford on Welcome to Paradise

The Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (MOCA) this week opens “Welcome to Paradise,” a showcase of temporary public art projects created by local South Florida artists. This program invited artists working at the intersection of ecology and technology to create installations to activate MOCA’s Paradise Courtyard.

First up from February 8 through June 25 is “Victory Garden,” created by Miami-based artist Emmett Moore.  Utilizing sustainable materials such as repurposed steel drums to form sculptural planters, “Victory Garden” will feature plants native to South Florida and the Caribbean such as Cuban oregano, collard greens, starfruit, bee balm and Everglades cherry tomatoes that will be harvested and shared. The exhibition will also include benches and solar-powered USB outlets for visitors to use.

MOCA curator Adeze Wilford hopped on the Jitney to tell us a bit more on what to expect from “Welcome to Paradise”.

How did the idea for “Welcome to Paradise” come to be?

Adeze Wilford: MOCA has a long-standing commitment to supporting South Florida artists through public artwork initiatives. We wanted to activate the iconic courtyard space in the museum that has the incredible installation by Jack Pierson with a new generation of artists. These series of temporary artist interventions are linked by the use of technology in innovative ways.

Can you walk us through the process of selecting “Victory Garden” to be one of the first “Welcome to Paradise” exhibits?

Emmett Moore’s “Victory Garden” blends the artist’s design and sculpture practice with a link to uplifting the community. We’re highlighting the work of some incredible organizations and giving them the platform to teach our community through this artwork. The artist wants viewers to be able to imagine possibilities within their own homes to combat food insecurity and to be more green in manageable ways.

What are some of the other artistic highlights visitors of “Welcome to Paradise,” can look forward to seeing?

Following Emmett Moore’s installation, our next project in the courtyard will feature ceramicist Beatriz Chachamovits who will be creating an interactive  coral reef. We will also have our third season of Art on The Plaza and our current exhibitions Didier William: Nou Kite Tout Sa Dèyè and Leah Gordon’s Kanaval will be up through April 16th.

What are some of the on-site events and programs MOCA is putting together to accompany the exhibit?

We will have a variety of programming including family workshops and community harvest days.

Anything else you want to mention that people should know about MOCA and Welcome to Paradise?

MOCA is excited to be the space where artists are able to imagine and dream of solutions for a better world through our support of their work through commissions like these.

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David Rolland

David Rolland edits the Jitney blog. He is the author of the novels Yo-Yo & The End of the Century.