The Singing Tree
I have a lifelong mural project, inspired in 1999 by then 8 year-old Meredith Miller of Virginia, who said, "What if the whole world made a painting together?" I have used this vision of unity through creativity to oversee the creation of 10 murals with 8000 people from 15 countries. The image is of a tree on the earth in space and comes from a story in Kate Seredy's book "The Singing Tree": During World War I, soldiers spent all night crawling on their bellies through the mud and barren landscape of war, trying to avoid the enemy. There were no trees, no rabbits, no birds, no houses, no buildings, no squirrels, no people, no evidence of life, as they inched along in the mud and darkness. Everything had been destryoed by war. When the sun broke through the darkness of the terrifying night, the soldiers came across one tree that had survived. Hundreds of birds who aren't normally together were in the tree- singing.
The image of the mural is based on the idea that the earth is "The Singing Tree" of the solar system and that we have the choice to make war and destroy the earth, or to make something beautiful together - to create a new song like the birds did.
The project is opened-ended. The forest is growing. Each mural honors the importance of trees and the process of every person contributing his or her vision to the whole - the essence of democracy. The murals center around theme, chosen by the community it serves. The Tulip Singing Tree's theme is "How can you cope with pain without hurting your body (taking drugs , smoking, drinking) or breaking the law?" High school art students in McKees Rocks, PA took the lead in designing, disseminating and assembling the 900 pieces of that tree. Children from Peru made the birds. The theme of the Willow Tree, designed by teenagers and made be 50 young children in two weeks, is "What are you thankful for." The People Tree, conceived of by children in an orphanage in Gujarat, India, has hearts for leaves. A new tree was invented.
The whole world is invited. More trees are sprouting up - A Fig Singing Tree, whose theme is "Bless the Child" is being created by a network of artists. You can grow one, too, using it as a tool to envision solutions to your community's greatest challenges. There is a book with instructions and National Standard curriculum tie-ins, as well as a DVD. The plan is to bring the trees and their songs to the Senate and Congress in June, 2011 in conjunction with the International Child's Art Foundation's World Children's Festival and be the "unlobby". Let art bring its healing hope to our lawmakers, with no manipulation or bribery.
Five Singing Trees were exhibited at the U.S. Botanical Gardens to commemorate 9/11 in 2002 as symbols of hope.
The Tulip Singing Tree, 12' x 8', paper, colored pencil, acrylic paint on board, McKees Rocks, PA
The Willow Singing Tree, 12' x 8',paper, colored pencil, acrylic paint on board, Morganton, W.VA
The People Singing Tree, 8' x 8', paper, colored pencil, acrylic paint on board, Gujarat, Indiablog comments powered by Disqus