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Mike MacDonald, Checkerspot butterfly on Senecio. Photographed in a secret location in western Canada in 1995, this species has been over-collected and is now quite rare.

Mike MacDonald

New media artist Mike MacDonald creates video installations and unique gardens to help draw attention to environmental and social issues. Born in Sydney, Nova Scotia, of Mi'kmaq, Boethuck, Irish, Portuguese, and Scottish ancestry, his heritage is an integral part of his work.

Drawing his inspiration from aboriginal medicine, ethnobotany and the science of plant/insect interdependence, MacDonald creates site-specific gardens in urban settings as a "medium for healing and increasing consciousness." Traditional native medicinal plants are used to attract numerous species of butterflies and help create calm, peaceful sanctuaries for humans. The gardens frequently allude to local history, re-layering native plants and wildlife over the impacts of contemporary settlement.

According to the artist, "A good butterfly garden includes both flowers for the butterflies to extract nectar from and host plants for the caterpillars to eat. Host plants include everlasting for the Vanessa butterflies, lupine for the Sulphurs and Silvery Blues, spirea for Spring Azures, violets for Fritillaries... All the native plants that butterflies use also have traditional medicinal uses. Butterflies also take nectar from the plants we use to dye textiles."

MacDonald also works with video and creates contemplative indoor installations which explore   . .(Read more)


Artist Statement

Obituary for the Artist

Butterfly Garden

Artist on Expressions

Artist on LANDviews

Artist on Digital Consciousness

© 2010