Artwork by Sonja Hinrichsen

Citrus Grove Project

Project in the Citrus Grove at Taliesin-West, Scottsdale, AZ, February 2011

To learn more about Taliesin-West and the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, please visit:

This piece is a response to the citrus orchard at Taliesin-West. I was fascinated with eating oranges and grapefruits directly from the tree, and realized that it is rare for me to have fruit without a label sticker on its skin. I decided to create special labels for these fruits; ones that put them into historical context with the environment where Taliesin-West is situated; while at the same time inspiring thought and creativity.  Despite my admiration for these trees, it seemed absurd to grow citrus in a desert. I was surprised to learn that the ancient Hohokam Indians also planted crops that relied solely on irrigation; and that they had elaborate irrigation systems, just as we have them today. However, a severe draught dried up their water supply and eventually caused the tribe to perish.

The oranges bear short pieces of text laid out in a spiral. Spirals were commonly used as a design element in ancient Hohokam as well as contemporary Pima Indian culture. (Spirals and double spirals can be found on petroglyphs, pottery and woven baskets). The texts are excerpts from Pima mythology about the creation of the universe, earth, plants, animals, and of mankind. If you want to read the stories, please visit: – Pima

The grapefruits bear the design of a labyrinth used by the Hohokam Indians. The labyrinth holds great meaning in Hohokam as well as Pima culture, some of which I tried to summarize in the short phrases on the outer rim of the labels. Most importantly the path through the labyrinth is seen as a metaphor for our journey though life. It contains all the experiences we encounter throughout our life. The center of the labyrinth stands for the final destination, the place we reach at the end of life’s journey, when we have fulfilled all our goals. The center also holds all our dreams. According to Pima belief the Sun God greets us here and passes us on into the next world.

After they were harvested, I offered the fruits to the Taliesin-West community and to tourists visiting the estate. I told them about the Hohokam labyrinth and handed out copies of the Pima creation stories I had taken the excerpts from.


3 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. eduardo aguilera said, on April 20, 2011 at 3:35 am

    Hi Sonja, nice works, i really like the snow art. The “Man In The Maze” is also a nice touch.
    Thanks for sharing.

    I hope to do more labyrinth installations this Summer and Fall. I’ll send you pictures if I do.

    Best of wishes,


  2. Chris Fremantle said, on April 20, 2011 at 7:16 am

    Hi Sonja

    It would be great to hear more about this project including “about the Hohokam labyrinth and handed out copies of the Pima creation stories I had taken the excerpts from”. Can we download the stories? It would also be great to be able to hear your voice telling the stories?


    • Sonja Hinrichsen said, on April 21, 2011 at 5:19 am

      Hi Chris,

      the stories are right here: – Pima

      the link is also on the citrus grove blog page itself.
      I did not record the stories, as I would not feel comfortable putting them into my voice, since they are not my stories. They are stories told by the Pima Indians of AZ.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: