A tropical ecosystem in a deconsecrated church…in Rome!

September 12, 2023
A tropical ecosystem in a deconsecrated church…in Rome!

Estimated Reading Time:5min and 34 sec

Could you believe there is a tropical ecosystem in a deconsecrated church in Rome? Are you curious? If you are in Rome this week and want to know more… read on! We’ll tell you all about this incredible location: a tropical ecosystem with butterflies, all in the incredible setting of a deconsecrated church in Rome.

The tropical ecosystem hosted in a deconsecrated church in Trastevere till the 16th September and is nothing more than an incredible work of art. It is an immersive installation by Precious Okoyomon entitled “the sun eats her children” which is capable of transporting the visitor into another dimension.

The tropical ecosystem is an installation

“The sun eats her children” is an installation which transports the visitor in an imaginary world and detaches him from reality. A black curtain blocks the usual gaze of passers-by inside the church. To go through this curtain is to enter a dreamlike world inhabited by plants, insects, and robotic animals.

What is striking is the strong contrast between the plants which grow freely, and the church. Even the altar, is covered and conquered by the growth of all sorts of plants. This is not the first time that art has decided to contaminate exhibition spaces with natural elements, but this is one of the favourite artistic means of Precious Okoyomon. She is a Nigerian-American artist (born 1993 in London), poet, and chef. She lives and works in New York City.

Precious Okoyomon - “The sun eats her children” – Photo by Daniele Molajoli

Precious Okoyomon – “The sun eats her children” – Photo by Daniele Molajoli


The exhibition conceals various levels of meaning for the visitor. It is not only plants that inhabit the church, but also various species of butterflies, predominantly black in colour. These delicate animals are born, live and die within the exhibition space. This space included also “Beloved”, a teddy bear that seems to sleep peacefully. He is there to demonstrate the relationship between art and technology. Everything is tied together by Kelsey Lu’s music.

There is a surprise for all those who decide to visit the installation and we will not reveal it… but suddenly the visitor realizes that that nothing is what it seems. The symbolism that permeates every element of the scene is a direct expression of Okoyomon’s culture, origins and references. The installation is nothing more than a shocking experience of entering the artist’s world.

The deconsecrated church

The installation can be visited is on until 16 September at Sant’Andrea De Scaphis, a deconsecrated church housing one of the most experimental contemporary art galleries in Rome.

This art space located in a deconsecrated 9th-century church in the heart of Trastevere, takes its name from the hulls (scafi), the small boats that were present in large numbers on the nearby banks of the Tiber


Come to Rome and take one of our walking tours. We’ll take you to Trastevere and we’ll show you Precious Okoyomon’s work of art entitled: “The sun eats her children” located in Sant’andrea De Scaphis, a deconsecrated church until the 16th September. Come and #feeltheessence.