2020 hasn’t been kind: the health and economic ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic may have shifted our focus, but the recent Black Summer bush fires remain firmly etched in Australia’s collective consciousness.
Over 45 million acres of land, forest and bushland were devastated by the bush fires, while an estimated 306 million tons CO2 was emitted into the atmosphere. Countless species of plant life and wildlife have been pushed into near extinction and in some cases, extinction. Some affected ecosystems may never recover. The problems that caused these unprecedented bushfires have not disappeared: humanity therefore needs to drastically alter its relationship with the natural world - or risk losing everything.
Arboreal Narratives 2020 seeks to explore humanity’s relationship with trees, especially post bush fires, while engaging conceptually with contemporary visual narratives surrounding its arboreal context. Through various media including video, installation, painting, drawing, sculpture, and photography, the artworks endeavour to reposition the tree from its mundane and everyday understandings to those that relate to its wider historical, cultural, sociological and ecological context.
The exhibition comprises artists who are all members of the contemporary Eco-Art collective, the Tree Veneration Society Inc. (TVS) which has been engaged over many years in raising awareness of the vital role played by trees in the survival of planetary ecosystems.
Louise Fowler-Smith, Paula Broom, Adrienne Hunt, Jan Garben, Jane Green, Amanda Farquharson, Liz Perfect, Jade Gunn, Kassandra Bossell, Miho Watanabe, Melinda Clyne, Hobart Hughes, Elizabeth Gervay, Margaret England, Sally Reinhardt, Jean Burke.
Collaboratively, these artists challenge viewers to join them in acting to protect critically endangered natural environments, where symbolically, the tree represents its consciousness and its voice in the many natural worlds it inhabits.