The Orchid AllianceProject - Bridging Art & Science, designed by Patricia Laspino, is an important endeavor that has national and international significance in the art and science worlds. Orchids are extremely susceptible to the effects of climate change, deforestation and the global spread of pesticides. Habitat change and forest deforestation aren’t new issues, however their alarming rate of acceleration has made adaptation extremely difficult for the orchid. The loss of a pollinator can spell doom for the orchid that depends on it for pollination.
From the perspective of science and biological evolution, Patricia considers orchids to be an environmental indicator, “the canary in the mine” or the flagship species that draws attention and support of the general public, while in the process gets things accomplished for the broader ecosystem in which they occur. Her orchid paintings explore and inform the viewer of the complex interdependencies and balances inherent in the orchid’s environment, an environment which includes every continent except for Antarctica.
Conservation and interdependency are complex subjects driven by a number of emotional factors that often lead to environmental, political and economic instability, but awareness of the issues and concerns is central to any sustainable effort. Patricia believes that the Orchid Alliance Project is a conduit that can educate the public by reaching out and connecting people in extraordinary ways.
The watchword of the Orchid Alliance Project is “Awareness”. Awareness and education form the threads that are carefully interwoven throughout the project; seeking to increase awareness and appreciation for the beauty and diversity of the natural world by carefully interweaving the historical, biological and cultural significance of the orchid species using the vehicle of art.
From the perspective of art and cultural evolution, man’s interaction with and his fascination of orchids has been equally compelling, laced with passion, mystery and intrigue. With a rich cultural history that spans the globe, some of the earliest references to orchids in art and literature can be traced back at least 2,500 years (the earliest written records dating from the time of Confucius, about 500 BC).
The ubiquitous presence of the orchid in modern cultures, as evidenced by the cultivation of thousands of species and hybrids, is a testament to the collective passion this plant species continues to inspire worldwide. Be it folklore or pop culture, ancient history or the present day, we are just beginning to scratch the surface of understanding the vast multicultural implications of orchids within different societies. Patricia believes exploring ancient attitudes about orchids and their function, through the lens of art and culture, may shed some light on the present power orchid’s have on us - a power she believes can transform our future in terms of global stewardship.
By immortalizing nature’s own orchid masterpieces, Patricia creates timeless painted masterpieces that seek to enhance the understanding of our past and present infatuations with orchid species and illuminate future expectations for our interaction with these magnificent plants.