Benedict Sibley, ‘Citriodora’, (Lemon Scented Gum, Urban Forest Tree ID: 1022037) Detail, Compressed charcoal on Arches paper, 102.5 x 78.5 cm



Inspired by the City of Melbourne’s Urban Forest Visual, artists were invited to create works that honour and advocate for Melbourne's trees.

Opening 11 October, TREE will show at fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, until 22 October.

A liveable climate needs trees and trees need a liveable climate.

It was through musing and imagining the multitudes of multispecies connections, interdependencies and communications—in the context of the Climate Emergency and the City of Melbourne’s world leading Urban Forest Strategy— that CLIMARTE’s TREE project was conceived.

Imagine if the countless non-human life forms that inhabit Melbourne could also express their appreciation for all the incredible gifts (oxygen, habitats, shade, comfort and so on) that the City of Melbourne’s now 80,000+ beloved local trees provide day in day out? Imagine what the trees themselves would be saying about being exposed to a climate and biodiversity emergency.

Conversely, The Urban Forest Strategy enables people to email the trees. Since the program launched in 2013, Melbourne’s trees have received thousands of love letters from humans near and far, some from as far as the furthest curves of the Earth.

We thank all participating artists for their unique and wonderful contributions to this legacy collection.

Featuring 25 artworks (also for sale), TREE presents work from Katherine Boland, Michelle Burns, Olga Dziemidowicz, Erica Elgin, Ariella Friend, Janice Gobey, Rod Gray, Lauren Guymer, Robbie Harmsworth, Zoé Haynes-Smith, Heather Hesterman, Bridget Hillebrand, Kathy Holowko & Sarah Moore, Todd Johnson, Linda Judge, Martin King, Susie Lachal, Nancy Lliang, Jan McLellan Rizzo, Zahra Marsous, Jarrad Martyn, Julia Schmitt, Benedict Sibley, Charlotte Watson and Barbara Wheeler.

International performance artist Dr Angela Viola will lead a participatory workshop (on 15th October. Further details will be updated here TBC).

Submissions were assessed by a panel composed of Tim Entwisle, Director and Chief Executive of Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Councillor Jamal Hakim, portfolio lead for Creative Melbourne and deputy portfolio lead for City Activation and Health, Wellbeing and Belonging, Guy Abrahams, CLIMARTE Co-Founder and Ambassador, and two CLIMARTE Committee Members.

As part of the Big Anxiety Festival, TREE will host a special workshop Towards an Ecological Self: Mapping Our Relations with Trees on 15 October in collaboration with Psychology for a Safe Climate, Sydney Environment Institute, and the Knowledge Translation Strategic Platform of Maridulu Budyari Gumal SPHERE.

You can read the artists’ brief from TREE’s open callout here.

For fortyfivedownstairs gallery information, please see here.




We thank the City of Melbourne

TREE is made possible through a City of Melbourne Arts and Creative Investment Partnerships project grant.

Please read the Lord Mayor’s letter of support for TREE.