The Mediterranean Botanicals Collection:
Bay Of Kotor

Minted On Nifty’s & Manifold

Over centuries, mariners returned to the Mediterranean with seeds and plantlings. The pursuit of empires, trade, legacy, medicine, religion, and aesthetics forged the UNESCO protected site’s landscape.

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.

Today 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 mega yachts. Every year 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.

Exhibited at: NFT Biennial, NFTBerlin, Miami NFT Con, Utopian Dystopia Kochi, Belltown Art Walk, The Boca Raton In Partnership With Lynn University’s NFT Museum.

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.
Kotor was a Greek colony founded in the 5th century BCE. The Greek fairy, Alkima, resides in a palace on the slopes of Pestingrad mountain that towers over the innermost point of the Bay of Kotor. According to myth, Alkima advised ancient mariners to build their town on the shore because the sea gives them life. After an argument with Poseidon (God of the sea), the people attested to her generosity, and he spared her life.

Amidst a violent storm, Alkima searched for her forbidden human lover. The gods surged the seas until her boat began to sink. Seafarers spotted her and sailed out to rescue her. Alkima tried to thank them with gold, but they refused the offer. Instead, they accepted everlasting gold, the mimosa flower.

Alkima still performs good deeds around the Kotor mountains trying to earn forgiveness and return to the gods’ realm. It’s said that she can be spotted on Fairy’s Gate at certain times of the night.

The ancestral carnation grew in the Pyrenees along the modern-day border of France and Spain. It evolved into the modern flower around the Mediterranean, particularly in ancient Greek and Roman merchant ports, including the Bay of Kotor.

Greek botanist Theophrastus created the word dianthus to reference Dios (God/Zeus) and anthos (flower), bestowing the binomial Dianthus caryophyllus, which directly translates to Flower of the Gods. Its common English name may derive from the Latin word for a crown (corona) because of its use in ceremonial crowns. And while the linguistic line between Greek and Latin fluctuated between modern-day Montenegro and Greece, the Serbo-Croatian word for carnation (karanfil) is derived from Ottoman Turkish.

Greek and Roman mythology’s origin of the flower is from the goddess Artemis/ Diana. After an unsuccessful hunt, she blamed a flute-playing shepherd for scaring off her prey. She gouged his eyes and threw them between stones. As her rage curtailed into regret, the eyes transformed into carnations.

At the shore of Herceg Novi, Forte Mare vaults out of the sea and into the sky. While there are no official records, it is taught that King Stjepan Tvrtko I of Bosnia placed the fortress’ first stone in 1382. Under its imposing stone face, the creeping prickly pear cascades down the wall within a leap of the promenade.

In the 16th century, Christian missionaries returned to Europe from Mesoamerica with the creeping prickly pear as a curiosity, where it was then spread throughout the Mediterranean by sailors. When Ottoman travel writer Evliya Çeleb visited Herceg Novi in 1664, the plant had naturalized. He described the city in his travelogues Seyâhatnâme as “a very solid and fortified city, so it is impossible to show or describe it!? It is surrounded by sharp cliffs and moats of hellish depth. It is a very high and beautiful city!” The bay’s unique microclimates are ideal for the creeping prickly pear, leading to its current listing as a national invasive species.

Historians linked Southern Slavic superstitions and particular religious practices to the Illyrians, who had tribes living in the Bay of Kotor during the 3rd century BCE. Several lores warn that unusual botanicals cast various misfortunes upon families as they turn “life upside-down.”

The angel’s trumpet’s pendulous blooms become fragrant at night. The old lore is, perhaps, a lesson of danger. Each part of the flower, including the smell, is toxic. The plant contains a low-potency tropane alkaloid that induces hallucinations and euphoria, but exposure can lead to muscle weakness, convulsions, paralysis, memory loss, and death.

Queen Teuta of the Illyrian Ardiaean Kingdom took refuge in Risan, a town in the inner part of the Bay of Kotor, throughout the Illyrian Wars. During her short reign, the settlement became the capital of her state. Warriors protected the fortress with arrowheads dipped in an oleander liquid as the flower was known to cause seizures, comas, and death.

The Romans overthrew the queen and built a road that ran around the bay and extended to the modern borders of Croatia and Albania. Majestic red, pink, and white oleanders lined the road when, as legend tells, a Montenegrin king visited Risan to build a summer home. However, a confidant warned of the potential misfortune due to the abundance of oleanders.

Crimson Bottlebrush originated near Botany Bay in southeastern Australia, where seasonal change affects the ecosystem like Kotor. The ancient walled city of Kotor sits at the innermost point of the bay, shaded by two steep and rugged mountains that create a biosphere for extreme weather. The city recommends planting the naturalized shrub because it thrives in the hot summers and fends off frost in the winter while producing its own natural herbicide.
The Chimney Bellflower is an Adriatic/ Illyrian native species from ancient times. In Lipci (near Risan), academics debate the intention and specific era (Balkan Bronze Age c. 1800 BC or the Balkan Iron Age 1100 BC – 150 AD) of rock paintings that depict lines and curves. Some scholars believe the drawings represent sailing ships and maps of the Bay of Kotor. The illustrations are the oldest depictions of Adriatic sailing and nautical maps in human history, if they are correct.
Montenegro promotes its wild beauty. Municipalities set mandates of authorized plants for contemporary landscaping to maintain the ecosystems. Myrtle-leaf Milkwort arrived from South Africa but has since naturalized in the Bay of Kotor, making it an approved landscaping plant available at flower markets.
Boka sailors brought home roses from the Bay of Bengal, China, for their personal gardens as fragrant privacy hedges during the rule of Venetian and Ottoman empires. To protect itself from the intense Mediterranean sun, the plant develops a purple pigment that acts as a sunscreen.
The Brazilian Coconut Palm tree’s first known transport to Europe from southern Brazil was in the 18th century. Seemingly out of place in the Mediterranean, the tree was nursed as an alternative fuel source in Yugoslavia. Instead, however, it became a statement of wealth in mansion gardens along the coast.

Naturalized around the bay from Australia, Herceg Novi, the city of sun, flowers, and stairs, celebrates the anticipation of Spring with the month-long Mimosa Festival because the flower blooms in February.

Binomial: Mirabilis jalapa. Mirabilis [Latin] means wonderful, admirable, or marvelous. However, the use of “jalapa” in the binomial has been a point of debate among botanists for over 300 years. Irrespective of its discoursed nomenclature, the Marvel of Peru denotes a period of prosperity as it was a popular landscaping complement to brutalist architecture in mid-twentieth century Yugoslavia.


Submarine Tunnel: Bay Of Kotor

Minted on NFT NYC & Manifold

Submarine Tunnel: Bay of Kotor examines the creation of the submarine tunnel built by the Yugoslavian military and how it represents a desire for change. A militarized space constructed for sovereignty and security was repurposed as a public space for pragmatic and leisurely pursuits.

Montenegro’s Lustica Peninsula served two primary purposes: agriculture and fortification. The lush, steep coast dives into the Adriatic Sea on the south and the Bay of Kotor on the north. The peninsula’s 13 kilometers (8 miles) form the Montenegrin side of the bay’s mouth.

One of the defensive sites sits near the opening of the bay. Hidden amongst the trees, the decommissioned submarine tunnel encased in the hillside is nearly undetectable to the eye. The Yugoslavian military bored 100 meters (328 feet) into the stone in the 1970s.

Since Montenegro gained independence in 2006, it has strived to make its mark in upmarket tourism. As a result, the country retired several military installations and sold them for touristic endeavors, including luxury residences and resorts. Today, the submarine tunnel constructed for sovereignty and security welcomes the public for pragmatic and leisurely pursuits.

Exhibited at: NFT.NYC 2022 Times Square, The Boca Raton In Partnership With Lynn University’s NFT Museum

As the tourist boat bounces toward the decommissioned submarine tunnel, a storm brews above Mount Orjen in the distance. The vessel gains speed as it chops through the refracting soft sunlight, emphasizing its wake.
Concrete layers molded on the hillside loom over the tourist boat at the entrance of the decommissioned submarine tunnel. An overhang protects bubbly-font graffiti from the rusting pattern on its face.
The afternoon sun reflects off the back wall of the decommissioned submarine tunnel illuminating it in a soft vignette. The light bathes the concrete dock in pastel pink hues that tint the darkened water near its edge.
Kayaks enter the decommissioned submarine tunnel. The concrete dock’s reflection ripples from the gentle wake that accentuates the natural tones of the Bay of Kotor.


Control & Cooperation

Minted On Foundation

Control and Cooperation examines gardening rituals and how public spaces embody changing power dynamics. Inspired by Eames’ Powers of Ten, the images transform into aerial botanical gardens with documentative remnants.

Exhibited at: Art on Paper during Armory Week, Photo London satellite event, INTERSECT Art + Blockchain Meetup During NFT London At The Institute Of Contemporary Arts

Placa de les Escoles Pies. Gandia, Spain.

Belvedere Palace, Vienna, Austria.

Rhein Country Border, Germany and Switzerland.

Marktplatz, Leipzig, Germany.

Wiener Riesenrad, Vienna, Austria.

Plaça Nova, Barcelona, Spain.

Rathaus, Basel, Switzerland.

Strand von Dobrec, Rose, Montenegro.