This tree was last burnt by the First Nations people, the Lairmairenner, before 1830. The tragedies of the Central Plateau are played out in this series. The tree is rooted. They were rooted. We are rooted.
Rooted in Time
A tree is always a record of time. Yes, it is recorded explicitly in tree growth rings but also in its rootedness in the landscape. The roots of a tree tell of the journey of survival, they show the scars of time but also the scars of use.
The Tree is rooted
This tree is rooted to its spot. It cannot walk away. it has wide and shallow roots – the ground is rocky with very little topsoil. Yet these trees grow through snow-laden winters and winds that reach cyclonic strengths. The climate is changing, the area sees less snow, and more root rotting groundwater where once it was frozen. These trees are being threatened by gum species that have in the past not been able to survive at this altitude. At the top of the plateau, there is nowhere higher to grow. This is its last habitat. It is the last of its habitat.
They were rooted
First, this tree was cut to provide a large slab from the south face to provide a panel for a hut. The tree was an aged giant already when this was done. Then the tree was assigned to an individual person who began the process of turning it into a funerary tree. This included careful burning, in season, of the exposed heart timber. Eventually creating a hollow eventually large enough to contain and protect a body. The tree was then nurtured and cared for by its guardian to finally become a burial tree for the person when they died. The tree is considered a living ancestor of the people. Thus cider gum is and was a sacred tree.
We are rooted.
Yes, it is a play on words. (for those not from Australia – the word rooted is a culturally used synonym for the F word. ) The removal of the primary careers for these trees with the coming of colonization and the systematic murder and removal of the First Nations Peoples has a consequence. In Tasmania, this was the most ‘successful’ for the Lairmairrenner. Lack of cultural practice that nurtured these Cider Gums has made them even more vulnerable to the effects of climate change. All the Cidergums in Tasmania are now a very threatened species. Trees that are dateable to pre- colonization are dying before our eyes. This tree is showing the signs of approaching death. The bell is tolling and it is tolling for us.
Rules for the series: Photograph the tree traveling around the tree – close up focusing on the tree as it is rooted to the ground. 10 images make up the work.
Technical: Camera – Hasselblad Film 80mm lens. Manual setting: HP5 film ISO800 Developed then scanned – post work digital. Exhibition print is printed in sepia.
Scroll down for the complete series and purchase details.
Currently on Exhibition
Exhibition print as displayed Sepia Tinted Giclee- $1500.
As this is a Photographic work, they are available as non-limited edition signed prints.
Series of 10 images arranged in two 17″ wide prints (2 x 5 images) This enables mounting in either one long strip or paired as exhibited. $1500
Series printed on 17″ roll paper in one combined image (thus 17″ high) $750
Plus freight. Framing is the responsibility of the purchaser.
Larger sizes are available on negotiation with the artist. Smaller images are not available for this work.
All Photographs are Giclee printed on Archival Acid-free papers and archival pigment inks. As with all works on paper, do not hang in direct sunlight.