RootedInNature-Alina Puente Artist- Madison Public Libraries- Naturalist In Residence Program

Rooted In Nature

For Madison Public Libraries, Naturalist-In-Residence Program

The Rooted in Nature theme is brought to life visually by artist Alina Puente, who created the 2023 limited edition posters in English, Spanish and Hmong for Madison Public Libraries. The theme ‘Rooted In Nature’ represents the Naturalist In Residence (Qwantese Dourese Winters’) heartfelt invitation to all who may feel disconnected from the land or who may have lost their sense of wonder in the embrace of nature. Throughout her life, Qwantese confronted stereotypes that deterred her from embracing nature and indulging in outdoor activities. These activities were often labeled as “white,” seemingly at odds with her identity as a black individual. However, amidst these challenges, her bond with nature remained steadfast. She encountered moments that revitalized her spirit and forged a deep connection with the natural world. Upon delving into her Gullah Geechee heritage, passed down from her grandfather, Qwantese realized that her family’s history was rich with practices like growing their own food and crafting medicines from nature. This revelation imbued her with a profound sense of belonging, making it clear that her roots are deeply intertwined with the land and that nature is an intrinsic part of her ancestry. Qwantese hopes that the “Rooted in Nature” theme serves as a gentle beckoning, urging each individual to become rooted—to reconnect with the land, embrace their heritage, and reignite the profound wonder that awakens within when in harmony with nature.

Pelo Bueno, Pelo Malo

Introducing the captivating series, “Pelo Bueno, Pelo Malo (Good Hair, Bad Hair),” which delves into the misconceptions surrounding Black hair, often labeled as “malo” or “bad.” Growing up in Dominican culture, Alina Puente sought to challenge these negative narratives by crafting visually striking art that celebrates the beauty and diversity of Black hair. With a keen eye for bridging Black-American and Afro-Latinx cultures, Alina’s images evoke a profound sense of pride in their shared roots, paying homage to the interconnectedness of these communities while empowering them to embrace the unique and resilient nature of their hair.