“Witness Trees” are long-standing trees located in places where they may have “witnessed” key events in history. The organised, massive tree plantings of Canberra provide records of the lifespans of the trees of the urban forest. As these trees come to the end of their useful life as city street trees, they are removed and usually mulched.
The ACT Witness Tree Project organised for a handful of these trees to be properly milled and kiln dried, and the usable timber be distributed to five selected artists. The five makers learned about the history of Canberra’s urban forest development and have researched local history and heritage of the felled trees. Using their investigation and understanding of Canberra and what the witness tree may have “seen” or “heard” in its lifespan, these makers have made objects that reflect, interpret, or are inspired by that tree’s experience.
The selected artists are David O'Brien, Jason Moore, Myles Gostelow, Matthew Harding, Katalin Sallai and Simon Ramsy.
This project coincides with Canberra’s Centenary and has culminated in a a public exhibition in Canberra which opens on April 9 and runs until April 30. The venue is Gallery of Australian Design, 47 Jardine St, Kingston ACT 2604. Gallery hours are Tues – Fri 10am – 4pm and Sat 10am – 2pm.
Photos: Monica Styles
This project was assisted through funding made available by the ACT Government under the ACT Heritage Grants Program
The exhibition is presented by the ANU School of Art Furniture Workshop and Canberra and Region Heritage Festival.