This art work has been selected for the International Planet Recovery Project Exhibition 2022 at the Labyrinth Gallery 1st Feb – July 31st, 2022
About the work
As we approach this ancient tree we are also approaching death. In the heart of Tasmania Australia, on the Central Plateau, live the ancestors of the Lairmairenna people. These trees are considered ancestors by the First Nations people. They were nurtured and burnt to achieve a hollow cavity, then designated as the individual’s funerary tree. This then, assured the tree was looked after and revered. On death, the person was interred in the hollow. It was then bound with wattle branches to protect the body from predators. On decay, the nutrients fed the tree. Thus the tree and person become one and they lived on.
So when approaching these trees, it is similar to approaching a European Grave Stone or a Mausoleum. Yet it is unsure whether this tree had been used for its purpose. It has been burnt but not extensively. This tree was last burnt before the Lairmairrenna were tragically massacred and removed from their land in 1826-1628. The bodies of massacred people were left where they fell. There was no one to carry out their sacred rites. Their remains were quickly consumed by Tasmanian Devils, Thylacine (Tasmanian Tigas), and Quoll conveniently wiping out the evidence of genocide.
Today these very rare trees are suffering dieback induced by climate change caused by a lack of heavy snow as the snow-line retreats, and the lack of burning practices last carried out before 1828. Burning removed the center of the heartwood. Today the trees that have grown in the last two hundred years are equally as big but they are suffering from wet rot. The warmer climate of less snow and frozen ground means these trees sit in watery peaty ground. rotting out the trees. They lose their strength and are toppled by the strong winds. The older burnt trees are surviving better than the post-1828 trees. Because it has been burnt this tree is doing better than many in the area but it is approaching death.
These sacred Cider Gums were the soul of the Lairmairenner Nation’s culture and traditions. Including the Cider festival. See here for more detail.
Rules for the series: Approach Tree from one direction only. Vertical Images approaching the heart of the tree. The final image horizontal enables the viewers to focus on the
Technical: Camera Canon D600 EF24mm lens Manual setting: ISO200 f13 1/80 all images.
Price and purchase can be arranged – Please contact the Labyrinth Gallery in the first instance.