From Plant Press, Vol. 21, No. 3, July 2018.
Based in Lagos, Nigeria, Temitayo Ogunbiyi is a visual artist who creates work that considers and constructs contemporary channels of communication. She is currently working on a series that fuses hairstyles with botanical forms. This will be honed and developed further during her Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship. Working with Gary Krupnick and John Kress, her research in the Department of Botany at the National Museum of Natural History will focus on medicinal plant species that thrive in the tropics. Her findings will inform forthcoming works on paper and playground sculptures. She is also conducting research at the National Museum of African Art, the National Museum of American History, and the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum. Ogunbiyi’s work has been shown at the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, the Center for Contemporary Art Lagos (Nigeria), Tiwani Contemporary Gallery (London), Stephen Friedman Gallery (London), the Perm Museum of Contemporary Art (Perm, Russia), and Berlin Art Projects (Berlin). She recently took part in Strange Attractors, an artist book that was produced as part of the 10th Berlin Biennale. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in Art History, Visual Art, and African-American Studies and an M.A. in Curatorial Studies and Critical Art Theory from Columbia University.
Retiring from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service in Beltsville, Maryland after more than 30 years, John H. Wiersema will be continuing his taxonomic and nomenclatural work at the National Museum of Natural History as a Research Associate in the Department of Botany, a position he has held since 2014. Previously he was a taxonomist for the USDA’s national germplasm system’s GRIN database. This position provided the opportunity to develop GRIN Taxonomy into an extensive and exhaustive taxonomic resource on economic plants important to global agriculture. Through this work Wiersema gained global standing as a specialist in plant nomenclature, and now has direct editorial involvement with both the botanical and cultivated plant codes of international nomenclature and the international journal Taxon. Wiersema is also well known as a specialist on the taxonomy of the water-lily family, especially the genus Nymphaea, is responsible for the discovery and description of several new species, and has participated in over 30 scientific publications on the group. He expects to pursue both of these interests here in the Botany Department.