Bitter Orange, Origin Southeastern Asia. Photograph Bay of Kotor, Montenegro, 2022

Joelle McTigue
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2.00 ETH


The bitter orange (origin India, Myanmar, and China border) is a winter fruit that arrived in the bay after being cultivated in Seville, Spain. It's a recipe staple for jams, pastries, cakes, juices, arancini (candied orange peel), and particularly marmalade. In the Orthodox Christmas tradition, known locally as Badnjak (Christmas Eve), a bitter orange with a small oak branch adorns front doors to symbolize St. Nicholas' gift of gold.

Over centuries, mariners returned to the Mediterranean with seeds and plantlings. In The Mediterranean Botanicals Collection: Bay of Kotor, I examine how the pursuit of empires, trade, legacy, medicine, religion, and aesthetics forged the coastal landscape of the UNESCO protected site.

The bay's naval fleet peaked at 300 ships to protect its prominent salt trade in the Middle Ages. But, its mariner history potentially traces back to the Balkan Bronze Age. Over millennia, great European empires (Roman, Ottoman, Venetian, Napoleon, Russian, and Austro-Hungarian) owned a piece of the Bay of Kotor for strategic and merchant gain.

Present-day, the Bay of Kotor strives for architectural revitalization and preservation while maintaining its wild beauty and traditions. Venice, Italy, continues to finance the restoration of Kotor's Venetian structures. Retired naval facilities around the bay have converted into five-star resorts and marinas welcoming some of the world's largest yachts. At sunset on July 22nd, sailors arrive for the custom known as fašinada, throwing rocks in the sea near Our Lady of the Rocks, a sailor-formed island near Pearst.

The Mediterranean Botanicals Collection: Bay of Kotor collection are manually-manipulated botanical photographs I took within Montenegro's Bay of Kotor. The work emulates stained glass to celebrate these roots of identity and nature through the contemporary window of technology.

Bitter Orange, Origin Southeastern Asia. Photograph Bay of Kotor, Montenegro, 2022 is available on Dalbin Table
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Joelle McTigue
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Joelle McTigue