Woman on a Tree

Gold Award – NZIPP 2019 Iris Awards

Woman on a Tree is an exploration of opposing forces: life and death, young and old, power and vulnerability, soft and hard. Its pertinence lies in the symbolism of contradictions. Contradictions are all around us.

Humans continue to exploit and overwhelm the natural environment with industrial pollution despite global warming, and its ever present impact on earth. The dead tree, scarred from fires, represents mother nature’s vulnerability to the forces we inflict upon her. I explore the paradox that humanity needs trees to live, yet we keep cutting them down. Despite the beautiful environment being subject to incessant abuse, western society considers itself to be thriving, ignorant to greater issues.

The interaction between the human form and the tree is like a love dance. An intimate moment, where the body caresses the tree and with that, offers a gentle apology, a moment of compassion. Humans can empathise with nature’s scars. We have scars too. Some are visible and others are hidden: scars from neglect, abuse, addiction or violence. We have the power to conceal our scars yet the tree is forever exposed.

This woman is bare, reflecting the state of the tree. Demonstrating that despite paradoxical contradictions which taint our relationship with earth, we can still find comfort, as she does here. Comfort in one’s skin and comfort in the company of nature. The story that accompanies this piece invites the viewer to reflect on their own identity politics, creating a moment to contemplate our complex relationship with nature.

I depict the woman in her most natural state, one with nature. By embracing the human form in all its glory and portraying the woman and tree side by side, it is my vision that the viewer embraces nature as a precious ephemeral organism that needs to be cherished and protected.

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