Opuntia vulgaris

Image of Opuntia vulgaris

The Opuntia vulgaris is a type species of Cactaceae that likely originated in central Mexico and is cultivated for its fruit—the prickly pear.

This print is an original artwork created using a mixed-media collage technique and is printed on museum-quality archival paper (Hahnemühle Photo Bright White Rag).

12" x 14" unframed digital print (giclée), signed by artist Patricia Pastén

The Flowers of the World collage series was inspired by botanical illustrations produced during the natural-history expeditions throughout the Age of Discovery. European explorers-naturalists sailed to distant lands to collect plant specimens and classify species of flowers.

Without knowledge of the specimens’ origins or ethnobotanical histories, they claimed and (re)named thousands of plants using the newly formalized binomial nomenclature system began by Carl Linnaeus’ Species Plantarum in 1753. Ancient and indigenous species from around the world were introduced to British society. The success of these expeditions led to the eventual creation of the Horticultural Society of London, the African Association, the Royal Academy of Arts, and the Royal Society (of London for Improving Natural Knowledge).

The Age of Discovery and the natural-history expeditions prepared the ground for the extraction, exploitation, and colonization of the world’s peoples, lands, and natural resources.

Prompted by this problematic history of flower classification Patricia makes visual reference to conquest and colonization through mixed-media collages that incorporate botanical illustrations published by the Royal Horticultural Society.