The first two works by artists Martin King and Benedict Sibley have been commissioned for this project. All following works (numbered) are for assessment.

MARTIN KING - commissioned work for TREE


Proposal, Martin King 2022

Thank you for the opportunity to propose an image for this significant project, celebrating the silent ‘asset’

I have chosen to work within the Fitzroy Gardens.

A location I have spent much time wandering, pondering, passing through, actively and passively!

I have concentrated on two trees,

Corymbia, Lemon Scented Gum and Fraxinus, English Ash, in the NE and E part of the gardens.

The work will bring these trees together, a hypothetical hybrid, half Gum, half Ash

Both are mature and substantial trees.

Fitzroy Gardens were established in the 1800’s, originally set aside as a reserve in 1848.

My interest is in the gardens is as a sight and haven for urban wildlife.

My work will take the form of a drawing of the two trees presented as a set of hardcover books, laid out as double page spreads, which will reveal the splendour of both trees.

Embedded within the drawing will be a reference to the diaries and journals of John Cotton (1802-1849), pastoralist and naturalist. His list of Victorian birds appeared in the Tasmanian Journal of Natural Science, vol. 3, 1848. His journals are beautifully illustrated with bird species of the Port Phillip region.

My hope is that the Fitzroy Gardens and the significant initiative of the City of Melbourne Urban Forest, will continue to support a sight and haven for wildlife and plant biodiversity into the future.

Attached is a draft proposal image along with an image of a page from John Cotton notebook.

Also attached are three images of my current work.

Kind regards

Martin King

BENEDICT SIBLEY - commissioned work for TREE

Proposal for the TREE project, using Melbourne’s Urban Forest Visual Map as a reference.

The tree I have chosen is a Lemon Scented Gum, Corymbia citriodora, Tree ID; 1022037, planted in 1900 or earlier. The drawing will be willow charcoal or compressed charcoal on paper. The work will be framed, and be approx. 110 x 90 cm in scale.

This Corymbia citriodora is one of a pair of two magnificent mature street trees which act as sentries to the entrance of the city from the North. The individual I have chosen is the smaller, more muscular and wrinkled of the two, but the one that always catches my eye.

Located in the centre of an incredibly busy traffic island at the very top of Swanston Street, these two white trunked giants flank Cemetery Road East, a thoroughfare that discharges the bulk of traffic from the Eastern Freeway via Princess Street and Alexandra Parade.

I have been aware of these two trees for decades. Whenever I am commuting through the area, either by foot, bike or car, I can’t not notice them. Once installed in the memory, these trees take on more permanence than anything else in their proximity. When I am in their presence I can unsee the urban world that surrounds them.

Benedict Sibley

1. Zorica Purlija - finished work

My Submission shows current work from a trip to Melbourne recently, I was staying at the Ovolo Hotel and photographed outside of my window.I would like to imagine the tree in the laneway as a benevolent tree feeding us oxygen while we sleep, I propose to show a triptych with the tree as monster coming to warn us, it is a humorous request to see from the trees point of view.

These are the finished works, it was great seeing the call out as I just recently came from a short trip from Melbourne where I took a lot of photos. I tend to make images from archive photos and use layering, so these new images are in the style of art I would make
The Location of my tree is Little Bourke street Melbourne. I would print 3 X A2 High gloss Photographs, title The magic of trees.

BIO and more about Zorica here >

Her website:


2. Julia Schmitt - concept for a work

Please see attached 3 images of works completed within the last 12 months that showcase a range of natural and architectural landscapes. I will combine these subjects to create a work that represents how Melbourne City trees fit into the built landscape.

Please also see attached a sketch of the estimated finished work. I will upscale this to a size between A3 and A2 and the work will be micron pen on paper.

It is of the Olderfleet building area at the Southern Cross end of Collins Street.

My statement for this proposed work is:
“Trees draw us in with their imposing stature and incredible detail that parallels many of the stylistic and structural aspects of the old buildings in Melbourne. Thinking about the theme of this exhibition I was considering the places in the city where architecture and nature interact. I have always wanted to draw the Olderfleet building at the Southern Cross end of Collins Street however whenever I walk past I’m always vexed by how the plane trees obscure the facade. In drawing this location have challenged myself to instead view the trees as complements to the beauty and stately grandeur of this historic part of Melbourne”.

3. Jess Coldrey - concept for a work

I’d like to apply with my concept Lophostemon Chandelier, which is a sculpture about urban cooling and the transpiration effect of trees.In 2016, the Australian native evergreen Brush Box (Lophostemon confertus) was identified as one of the trees most well-suited to Melbourne’s warming climate, partially due to its transpiration and cooling effect. Currently covering about 7% of Greater Melbourne’s streets, it’s a species I’d love to celebrate through the Urban Forest concept.

My pitch Lophostemon Chandelier showcases the art of biological transpiration with a combination of 3D scanning and delicate hand embellishments reminiscent of water droplets. This builds upon my body of work exploring nature through 3D modelling and my background as a geographer. I’m open to basing this model on a specific tree in Melbourne, although I’m currently overseas and may need some help identifying one.

The sculpture would be approximately 40 x 40 x 80 cm, and would be hung at eye height from an invisible fishing wire. I’ve attached a sketch and three example images.

Jess Coldrey | Humanitarian Engineer & Creative Technologist
John Monash Scholar, Agendo Art Prize Winner & AFRAN Laureate
+44 7484 378 135 |

4. Michelle Burns - concept for a work

Title of planned artwork: Decomposition

Medium of planned artwork: Oil paint on oil paint paper, mounted on panel, framed in a wooden float frame.

Description of planned artwork: Decomposition is the decay of a tree leaf, the title also references the word composition, as used in art. The artwork consists of the same leaf painted 6 times. Progressively becoming fainter from left to right. The first leaf on the left is green, becoming brown and then fades to white on the right. A stylised depiction of a leaf decaying. The painting shall be based on a leaf from the chosen tree in the City of Melbourne.

The planned artwork consists of six framed paintings on paper (5×7”)  For this submission the six paintings shall be considered as one multi-panelled artwork, with the intention to be offered for sale as one multi-panelled artwork.

I would like to have the opportunity to explore decomposing leaves and the role they play in the health of the city of Melbourne and in the ecosystem of the Carlton Gardens. I would like to learn more about the impact of global warming on leaf litter decomposition.

What tree have I chosen?:   Tree ID: 1036769

Name: Yellow Chestnut Oak, Querkus.

Location: Carlton Gardens North.

Why did I choose this tree?: I had a picnic with my family after a visit to the Melbourne Museum in Feb 2022. We sat on a blanket under the shade of a tree and watched our children play in the Carlton Gardens playground. We took some leaves home from the tree we sat under, as a memento. I was able to identify what tree this was from using the City of Melbourne Urban Forest Project website, tree ID:1036769.

Who am I?: I work night shift as a Sleep Scientist in the Respiratory Ward of a Public Hospital. Routinely observing carbon dioxide/oxygen in human respiration in a clinical setting. I also have a qualification in animation and worked in community arts previous to my scientific career. I am a painter interested in creating multi-panelled pieces that document time-passing and perception.

Name: Michelle Burns
Contact email:

Contact mobile: 0402118249



5. Katherine Boland - concept for a work

My submission for the TREE project based on a Moreton Bay Fig in Birdwood Ave, South Yarra (Tree ID: 1027836). My artwork would be in the form of a single photograph or a triptych, like an altar piece. See attached images as an example of the concept.


‘This work pays homage to an old Moreton Bay Fig (Ficus Macrophylla) on Birdwood Ave in South Yarra. Early tree planting in South Yarra dates to the 1850s and was driven by the desire to create windbreaks and establish shade. Some Moreton Bay Figs can grow as wide as an Australian cricket pitch! Moreton Bay Figs are actually rainforest trees, and I have always been amazed by their ability to adapt to city environments dominated by dense residential and commercial neighbourhoods, heavy traffic, open space parkland and constant human activity. As an RMIT art student in the 70s, I spent a lot of time in this area and in the nearby botanical gardens, either sitting under or sketching Moreton Bay Figs.

Many species of birds like pigeons and parrots eat the fruit of this tree. Interestingly, male and female flowers are produced inside the fruit where they are pollinated by tiny fig wasps. The female flowers then act like a womb in which the fig wasps reproduce.

The Moreton Bay Fig is characterised by its massive buttress roots which spread as wide as its broad canopy, sometimes damaging pavements, pipelines, and other structures. I have tried to capture the imposing, and to me, distinctly female spirit of this tree by digitally manipulating the photographs I took of it during a visit to Melbourne. The lower half of the image resembles the carved wooden base of an altar, the symmetrical root structure suggestive of female anatomy. On top of the altar sits an offering to Mother Earth, an extravagant bouquet of Ficus Macrophylla foliage honouring the adaptability and beauty of this magnificent tree. For the first time in Australia’s history, a whole generation of Moreton Bay Figs is entering its senescent phase and many trees are now dying from old age and disease. We should appreciate these grand and graceful giantesses in our cities while we can.’

6. Zoé Haynes-Smith - concept for a work - lenticular photographic

(NOTE: I have left artist spelling mistakes)

Trees provide oxygen and limit carbon in the atmosphere. They reduce air pollution, provide food and shelter for wildlife, minimise erosion and maintain healthy soil, increase rainfall, and absorb sunlight as energy. Simply, trees are an essential component of life and are the oldest living species on earth.  Trees are also beneficial for healing “A view of trees can help hospital patients recover faster by reducing blood pressure and stress. In fact, studies have found that just 3-5 minutes spent looking at nature can help reduce anger, anxiety and pain, inducing relaxation”  patients need less pain-relieving medication, they are better patients and they need to stay in hospital for a shorter period of time, so surrounding hospitals with views of trees can improve both healthcare and economic efficiency.” The idea of trees being beneficial for healing also imparts itself on those who work and live in Melbourne relieving stress and anxiety of the busyness of the city.

Having only spent longer periods of time in Melbourne myself visiting and caring for loved ones in hospital  both at Alfred Hospital and Royal Children’s Hospital I have seen the benefits trees have on healing  and on reflection of the art pieces I created at the time were  of the trees that I saw and connected with at both those hospitals. To continue on from this occurence and phenomonon I propose to use the tree outside the Royal  Women’s hospital in Parkville within a new artwork . I have used a fisheye lens to capture the whole tree as it transitions from summer to Autumn and will return later in the year to capture it in Winter with bare branches with the same lens, those images will then be used to create my lenticular photographic art work which when viewed from one angle will show the upright image of the tree with leaves and from the opposite angle will show the upside down bare tree which represents its roots and wisdom and healing energy . Ive attached a video  of the idea using different coloured leaves on the tree to give you an idea of what I mean. The folded lenticular image will then be printed on fine art paper folded and then profesionally mounted and framed within a shadowbox to accomodate the thickness of the paper folds .once folded the image will be 40cm x 40cm.

Terrific Trees -a compilation of moving Images celebrating trees 


7. Lauren Guymer - concept for a work

Concept description:
Using the Urban Forest Map, I have created a concept for a series of two paintings that depict Eucalyptus Trees and their surrounding environment at the Trin Warren Tam-Boore and the Australian Native Garden, both located in Royal Park in Parkville. Artwork 1: 1051893 (Trin Warren)  Artwork 2: 1055649 (Aus garden) .

The paintings will also include the plants I identified on location using the iNaturalist App.

At the forefront of each painting are a grand tree and the plants found in each area. Through these works, I wish to highlight the all-encompassing importance of Trees within the environment. But more specifically, their ability to work as a natural filtration system, offset stormwater and filter pollution. These are a few qualities of many that highlight how important trees are and what they can provide, particularly in the built environment.

The two works will be painted on separate pieces of paper but joined together by the bodies of water located at each place. I hope to display the works side-by-side to emphasise the interconnected ecosystems. They will be painted using contemporary watercolour techniques on cotton paper, sized at 100x90cm each. Please note that I would be happy to include only one work if there are constraints on space.

Lauren Guymer – Her Website & CV:

8. Gabrielle Willim - concept for a work

Submission concept:

Trees filter the city’s air and allow us to breathe. In the same way, watching the leaves in the breeze out the window or while on a walk filters for our mind and allows our soul to breathe more deeply. My piece, likely titled ‘Filter’, will centre on a Melaleuca Paperbark, such as the tree identified below (Melaleuca linariifolia). This particular tree has served as an air filter for me personally, waiting at the lights while riding my bike under the nearby tollway on busy Racecourse Road.

Dropped bark from the tree will be collected from the asphalt, pavement and surrounds. It will then be retted, mixed with fibre from high quality watercolour papers if needed, and drawn into circular paper sheets using a deckle/mould. The effect is resonant of coffee filters, yet draws attention to the individual tree from which this paper was made. These sheets will be layered with use of both paper tolle and paper cut techniques to create depth and strata, similar to the layering of bark and rings within the trunk of a tree. Edges will be amplified using watercolour and/or burning to create contrast. These shapes will depict the canopy of the tree, perhaps as if sheltered from below the tree looking upwards toward the sky and toll bridge, the leaves filtering the noise and light.

tree ID : 1290326

9. Vicki Mason - concept for a work

Title of work – Canopy cover

The stunning Magnolia grandiflora tree (ID 1033563) opposite the NGV international on St Kilda Road in Queen Victoria Gardens is a tree that I know well. I have walked past it week in and week out and year in and year out for the twenty-one years I’ve lived in Melbourne. Not only beautiful, old, and stately, its mature canopy provides shade to passers-by. My work will honour this tree but also highlight its role in helping keep our hard surfaced city environs cooler through helping ameliorate the heat island effect.

This work will utilise a range of mixed media materials. Painted dried magnolia leaves, sourced as leaf litter from magnolias near where I live, will radiate outward from the centre of the work. The circular form of the work, that references the aerial perspective of a tree’s canopy, takes its inspiration from landscape drawings where trees are often depicted from a bird’s-eye-view. Its mandala like form will aid in focussing attention not only on the beauty of the leaves from which it will be made, but also on the sacred role trees play in our lives.

The dried foliage will be painted in shades of blue (to symbolise water vapor release) and green. The leaves will be stitched with clear nylon fishing line onto a round canvas board. The undulating edges of the dried leaves will cast shadows on the backing canvas emphasising notions of coolness and shade. The use of cool jewel like colours will highlight the precious role leaves play in not only providing shade but will also reference the palette of cooler tones thermal images depict when they are employed to represent an environment’s temperatures.

Our urban forest trees intercept sunlight, reducing the amount of energy that is absorbed by surrounding surfaces, which in turn lowers temperatures on scorching hot days. ‘Canopy cover’ will be both a meditative homage that gives thanks to this southern magnolia with its leathery shady leaves and broad mature canopy, while also drawing attention to the reprieve it and other city trees offer us in a climate wherever hotter temperatures are becoming the norm.

Vicki Mason
12 Belinda Crescent
Wheelers Hill VIC 3150 Melbourne
0413 683 105
03 9560 2249

10. Charlotte Watson - completed work

This is a concertina that was completed in 2020, and happens to reference the Corymbias included in CoM Urban Trees, in Fitzroy Gardens.

I understand it may not quite fit the brief in the more scientific way as described.

Artwork details:
‘Gathered Arms’
Pencil on paper concertina. 2020.
100 x 15cm.

This concertina is an acknowledgment of trees as teacher. Often walking through Fitzroy Gardens I found myself gravitating toward the towering, slender height of the Corymbia Citriodora. Their smooth trunks and wrinkled limbs reminded me of an ancestor, a mother figure, or a protector. I began to repeatedly seek them out during the lockdowns, as while they couldn’t directly ‘speak’, still had much to teach me about a way of being.

11. Todd Johnson - concept for a work

Photograph to be printed 100x100cm (framed).

I propose to produce a new photographic work in response to one tree along the Yarra River. For example: Allocasauarina Drooping Sheoak Tree ID: 1063081.
It will be created using the same method/materials as these images.

These photographs were shot on an expired slide film stock, and later submerged in elements of the environment itself. Gradually, the film became malleable, as minerals, bacteria and pollution of the water slowly disintegrated the medium into an unpredictable material abstraction. Tree fragments were then used to scratch away at the film emulsion. As a printed photograph, the paper itself has been subtlety exposed to environmental influences (heat, wind, insects), having been left outside in the weather to endure its vicissitudes. These decaying photographs examines the devastation and violence inflicted upon the landscape; a fate mimicked in the now obsolete medium used to record it.

Mr. Todd Reece Johnson
Photography Lecturer and PhD Candidate at Deakin University
Unit Coordinator and Lecturer at Deakin College

Todd’s website:

12. Nina Killham - the works, photographic

Every day I walk through the north end of Melbourne’s Royal Park. I cannot believe that I am in the city. I look up through the eucalyptus and marvel at the white branches dancing and the soft blue green leaves giddy in the sun. Mainly I see tree faces watching me curiously as I walk by.

There’s a group of them, hanging out by the railroad tracks. They have attitude, and if you look closer, you will notice that they lean forward to chat, a branch curled above their head, a gentle elbow poking each other as a joke.

I call them the Royals.

I don’t know what they call me, but I catch them eyeing me back. They seem to turn towards me when I appear, curious about the camera, presenting their good side. Of course, they have no bad side and I like to swirl around them, getting close to their bark, snapping every gesture, every expression.

I see smiles, goofy grins and the sheer joy of breathing in CO2 and gifting us oxygen. I also see distress and nervousness, and the question: When are you going to tackle climate change? During the lockdown I spent hours with the trees and put together a website about deforestation in Australia called I also advocate for trees on twitter @ninakillham

I find the bark and the sway of city trees to be particularly vibrant. And I love the way the Royal Park has carpeted their roots with long native grasses and has left fallen trunks on the ground to house bees and other insects. Here the trees are protected in their very own Serengeti. By day the parrots screech by, by night bats soar silently above.

In the exhibition I would show a selection of photographs of bark close-ups, group tree selfies, and full-length photos to demonstrate each tree’s distinct personality and how they relate to their corner of the park where they are passed daily, often unseen, by people on bikes, in cars, and in trains. I want to encourage people to notice the trees around them, in the local parks, along the streets, and to see the personalities of these beautiful beings who are so essential to city life.

I am including six photos: The Pom Pom Girls, The Lion in Winter, I See You, Can You See Me?, Morning Star, The Girls From The Hood, and City Sirens

13. Heather Merrylees - concept for a work

My proposed artwork is made up of multiple views, micro and macro landscapes of the urban forest:

Solascape – Vibrant green leaf cells bright with cytoplasmic streaming mirroring the whirling busy traffic of the urban ways. The light of the sun is the focus of growth on and on.

Aeroscape – Tree pollen floating on the spring breeze, magnified as translucent golden jewels, microscopic beauty revealed, geometric and organic shapes, molten honey.

Terrascape – Tree roots burgeoning, swelling in a wrestle with tarmac and cement, the dark under the pavement, mycelium symbioses, roots searching for water.

Lunascape – Trees in the blue of night lit by the warm glow of streetlights and the hint of a moon – the electricity grid mirroring the connections, the vascular system of the urban forest.

Inspiration & Influences: SEM and Light Microscopy – especially from time working at the Melbourne Pollen Count and Forecast and the Jim Willis Studentship at the National Herbarium of Victoria and Master of Science in Botany; the gracefulness of Art Nouveau especially Sydney Long’s depiction of trees; SolarPunk

Media: Likely paint on paper, or digital print, photography, mixed media

14. Linda Judge - concept for a work

This project acts as an extension of a series of works I have been making in 2022 after lockdown introduced me to many individual trees growing in my 5k along the Yarra river.

For this project I have painted the trees in the Birrarung Marr area on a plastic surface (attached to paper) made of bread tags. This work aims to draw attention to the problem of microplastics in soil, air and water and how over consumption precipitates climate change. However the work also pays tribute to significant trees along the river.  The first work attached Big Bend acts as a sketch for the proposed work.

15. Ariella Friend - concept for a work

(note to all: Ariella contacted us from Sydney, asked us to photograph this Eucalyptus Argyle Apple Tree, ID number 1583033 for her in proximity to the Shrine of Remembrance, which we did, from all angles,  so she could submit)

‘This is not our world with trees in it. It’s a world of trees, where humans have just arrived’.
Richard Powers, The Overstory

“I’m a Eucalyptus Argyle Apple Tree, ID number 1583033. You can also call me Eucalyptus cinerea, mealy stringbark or silver dollar tree. I have rough, fibrous bark on my trunk and branches, dense blue grey foliage, egg shaped evergreen leaves and white flowers. I live in South Yarra near St Kilda Rd and most people will walk straight past me without giving me a second thought. To you, I’m just a medium sized tree in a park.

I stand quietly cooling the city and cleansing the air. That’s not all I do though. I watch, I listen. I have recorded past events such as weather, droughts, floods, storms, fires and pests. I have communicated with my fellow trees through our root systems and provide a safe haven for birds and animals. I have followed your stories, your conversations, your first kiss, your last divorce. I’m actually quite busy. You would probably never know this until you cut me open to reveal the tree rings inside my stump. Here you will find information as precise as digital data.

Welcome to my inner world. It’s a colourful place filled with secrets both past and present.”

In this proposed work ‘Confessions of A Eucalyptus Argyle Apple Tree’, I have created an abstract artwork based on the information contained within the Eucalyptus Argyle Apple’s tree rings. I will digitally print images relating directly to the tree- such as it’s bark, leaves and flowers as well as images of man made landmarks surrounding it such as the ‘Shrine Of Remembrance’ onto paper. I will then create abstract paintings on paper interpreting conversations and activities witnessed by the tree. I will then combine all these papers into a layered, collaged wall piece. The finished work will be 90 x 90cm and will be easily attached to the wall in the gallery space.

This work intends to reflect life through the perspective of this tree and the interconnectedness of humans and nature in the urban environment.

16. Mark Edwards - concept for a work

After conducting site inspections, researching significant trees within the City of Melbourne, and investigating the Exceptional Tree Register Report from the City of Melbourne (Greenwood Consulting 2019, Updated by Tree logic 2019). My research has lead me to the grounds surrounding The Royal Exhibition Building (The Royal Exhibition Building was constructed in Melbourne between 1879 and 1880 following huge commercial growth and manufacturing in Victoria as a result of the 1850s gold rushes). And the adjacent Museum of Melbourne parklands. I recognise these grounds and buildings as historical and contemporary significance as a site and architectural relevance to the City of Melbourne’s Urban Forest Project. The site, over many decades, has been and continues to be a meeting place for Victorians and international visitors. For this reason, it is a worthy inclusion as a Tree of significance.

The tree I have chosen is the Eucalyptus Cladocalyx, commonly known as the Sugar Gum. It is an Australian evergreen located in the forecourt outside the Melbourne Museum at 9-11 Nicholson Street Carlton. The tree is approximately one hundred years old; its diameter at breast height is 183 cm and is 32 metres in height; it has a canopy width of 23 metres and, due to its enormity, dominates as a focal point for anyone visiting the Melbourne Museum.  On the 12th June I visited the site and took images of this magnificent tree, images can be provided upon request.

Climate change in relation to the eucalyptus tree in the forecourt of Melbourne Museum.

Large trees are most affected as the climate warms; large trees will be affected more than small trees because they have proportionately less foliage for photosynthesis and because their hydraulic system has to draw water further to the top of the canopy. Large trees are also especially vulnerable to drought stress which is made worse by high temperatures. As Melbourne continues to have harsher summers and longer, colder dry winters, the eucalyptus is threatened by dieback and heat stress. Ultimately, we will lose this 100-year-old tree due to climate change.

My Project concept:

I intend to create a drawing that will show the Eucalyptus tree on the forecourt grounds of the Melbourne Museum and part of the Royal Exhibition Building in the background. The drawing will illustrate the climate change of the tree through the shedding of leaves. I have estimated that the tree stores 963 kg of carbon. I will have the symbols Co2 either as falling leaves or in the sky. The ground will be illustrated by a dry crackling of the pavement stones.

I have made preliminary drawings that are the starting point for a mapping of my evolving project (21x 29.7) cm and a series of silhouette cut-out drawings (42 x29) cm.

Mark Edwards

Website info:

17. Nancy Liang - Concept for a work

(note to all: Nancy contacted us from Sydney, asked us to photograph this Gingko tree for her in China town, which we did, from all angles,  so she could submit)

Tree: Ginkgo Tree, Cohen Place. tree ID : 1065393

Mine are one-sided feelings that may never be fulfilled

Yet my heart feels so full

I wait for you under the fleeting wash of falling leaves,

My body aflutter like the golden wings on the gingko tree

My concept draws upon the role of trees and how it is closely tied to the human experience.

We often use trees as pillars: to seek solace in times of respite or as symbols to relate to our emotions. For me, the Ginkgo Tree at Cohen Place contains feelings of irreplaceable comfort with fond memories attached. It also provides me with a sense of place and belonging.

The artwork idea taps into the spirit of ‘shan shui’, Chinese landscape paintings (often accompanied with poetry and calligraphy), where the manner in which artists expressed nature revealed much about themselves. They hold the natural world in deep reverence, knowing that connectivity to the land is intrinsic to expressing their inner-self.

The artwork will be etched and collaged using paper discards and hand-painted textures, then displayed in print form. It will be presented in a scroll-like manner with the possibility of it being sold as limited edition prints.

If selected, I’ll be happy to provide a timeline for work in progress if needed.

Her website:

18. Louis Holden and Adele Pick (MUMA DOESA) - completed work

Team Pigeon
Collage on paper

Our Artwork was created using photographs of a Siberian Elm found in Punt Road Prahran which is a part of the Urban Forest Strategy.

It shows how the tree offers protection from the elements and a home for birds and other animals. It also provides a filter to the carbon dioxide from pollution and car fumes and converts it into oxygen.
The ripped paper symbolises how trees have been cut down, but have now been re-planted  through the Urban Forest Project.

19. Susie Lachal - concept for a work

environmental justice

A bronze sculpture measuring 26cmx26cmx26cm is the intended object for submission to Tree.

This sculpture pays homage to the elm standing among its sentinel species, ninth from the Swan St bridge on the south side of the Yarra away from the city. The tree was planted by colonial settlers to mold their new environment to something more familiar. This was an expression of man’s domination over nature, a product of enlightenment thinking. The tree shed twigs and small branches during strong winds in May and June that were collected from its base. This elm is over 100 years old and has grown strong and tall entangling with other living and non-living things – indigenous and introduced – to develop a vibrant microenvironment of relational engagements.

An act of relational engagement such as this between humans and non-humans denies environmental justice. The term ‘justice’ is used to assert the need for value to be placed on all things, living and non-living. This structure of value is a legacy of colonialism and is central to the argument for the need to reduce anthropocentrism. Justice occurs in the attribution of value by humans, toward all things. By valuing things in and of themselves humans may come to realise how entangled they, and all things, truly are. By transitioning toward environmental justice humans may tend to reduce their anthropocentric perspectives.

Inspired by geometric structures in nature the collected twigs were cut into 8cm lengths of roughly three different diameters. Using hot glue and wax a cube was created with the twigs of largest diameter. Six additional cubes were added to the original cube, one to each face. The out reaching arms extending from the original cube utilised the medium sized diameter twigs. And the outward facing squares that completed the six cubes were constructed from the smallest diameter twigs. The completed sculpture is 26cmx26cmx26cm.

To honour this elm tree the twig sculpture is ready to be cast. Within colonial values, a bronze sculpture attributes recognition to the bronzee and memorializes the contribution they have made in the world. The resultant object has the potential to open discussion around more equitable relations toward greater environmental justice.

[ The images envirojust 1 & 2 are the twig sculpture. I am currently waxing the corners/joins ready to be bronzed. So this will be the sculpture. I anticipate some of the smaller twigs not surviving the lost wax/twig casting.

This is the intended work, currently in twig form to be transformed into bronze form: 26cmx26cmx26cm – so yes quite small – could sit on a plinth or small wall shelf. The weight is likely to be approx. 5-10kg.]

Susie Lachal is a sculptor who has recently completed a PhD titled Toward Equitable Entanglements. An artistic outcome of the PhD is the digital book that can be found in the following link.

20. Belinda Keyte - concept for a work

3 examples of work.

“‘Christmas is awful’. It was my composited photographic image response to the 2019 bushfires.

‘Drought’ was a project I did on holistic farming in NSW, a state considered to be in drought 2/3 of the time.

“Greening the City’ is a past work but also my concept. It is a composited photographic image. I would like the final image to be a photograph taken in the Melbourne Botanic Gardens with the city in the background. Yet, the city I want. With green wall building facades. I would like to include trees, tree canopies, shrubs, grasses and greenery local to Melbourne from the information provided to us in the brief.

Compositing photographs is a large part of my photographic practice. It allows me to create the ‘worlds’ I want that don’t exist.

Alongside my photographic practice I am also an Architect. I got into Architecture for environmental reasons 23 years ago. I hold a Masters of Science in Sustainable Design. I have yet to use this degree in my Architectural career except to guide me as to which firms to work for.

Since beginning my photographic practice in 2015 I have sought out inspiration from the environment. This exhibition, I felt, was a great opportunity to marry my passion for the environment with my photographic compositing skills.”

Belinda’s full art practice CV and portfolio encompassing 2 mediums can be seen at:


21. Nadine Schmoll - concept for a work

Proposing a series of 3 works. The series is titled (In the Presence of) Guardians. Canopy, Trunk and Cloak are the individual artwork titles.

Guardians is a collection of three artworks that celebrate the trio of Moreton Bay Fig Trees located at the entrance to the Children’s Garden at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne. These works draw on childhood memories of place and connection to fig trees as sources of refuge and play.

For much of my childhood we lived in Fig Tree Pocket, in the western suburbs of Brisbane, and our school’s emblem was the Moreton Bay Fig Tree. My siblings and I used to love playing amongst the giant fig trees at New Farm Park, where my parents were married when they migrated to Australia. I remember these trees as giant behemoths, their roots and spreading branches towering above like benevolent guardians, providing countless opportunities for adventure and imagination. One of these fig trees is almost 100 years old, while others are still juveniles. I like to think of these trees as watching over us, still, through the seasons of time, growth and decay.

Revisiting these trees now as an adult, I can understand that their presence serves a greater purpose, and am grateful for the assistance they provide us as humans. Within the global context of climate change, we need trees now more than ever, to assist us in meeting the challenges of density and urban development, particularly within the inner city. Trees with large, spreading canopies provide important sources of shelter for humans and habitat for animals. Their presence is a valuable resource that provides cooling and green space. Our future is intimately connected to theirs.

Two of the works are displayed like the letter “T”, indicating a simple tree shape. The work above depicts the tree’s canopy using fallen leaves collected beneath the Moreton Bay Figs at New Farm Park, hand sewn together with gold silk thread and displayed on a lightbox. The second work is a photograph at the site where the leaves were collected, a portrait of the artist standing in the tree’s embrace, wearing a semi-transparent cloak digitally printed with fig leaves. The third and final element is an optional addition at the curator’s discretion, designed to encourage a subtle level of interactivity with the work; a curtain made of the cloak, hanging from the ceiling in a half moon, invites the viewer to be embraced by the tree and relive their own childhood memories.

A note on practical considerations: the lightbox element for Canopy can be omitted if access to power is not available. The size and presentation of Cloak can be modified to suit the space. I was not certain how the 120cm maximum applies to multiple artworks.

22. Barbara Wheeler - concept for a work

Concept  – The Stick Report – by Angophora costata

The Stick Report is a brief communique from the Eucalyptus nation.  Its message is that we are interconnected.

This report illustrates some of the colours Eucalypts give to cloth and fibres and gently encourages us to consider creative collaboration with our ancient trees.

The sticks in the report are mostly Angophora costata (generally regarded as a gum tree) wrapped in silk and wool threads that have been botanically dyed with Angophora costata leaves.

The inspiration for this work is an Angophora costata growing in the Royal Park near Walmsley House.  Angophora costata are graceful, angular, pink and rusty coloured, with bark that crinkles, just like our skin wrinkles with age – they stand out wherever they grow.  They also drop a lot of sticks, a characteristic disliked by gardeners in public parks who prefer their green sword of grass to be uninterrupted by dustings of Eucalyptus sticks and leaves.

I believe that Angophora costata growing in public places lend their charisma to that place.  They claim our gaze because we love beauty and because we are grateful when we encounter it, even if we don’t fully understand it.

The Stick Report is a coded message about the unexpected benefits of intimate dialogue with the natural world when we engage our senses to listen, observe, smell and practice a light touch.

The Stick Report image is the final work and no sketch is required for the panel to assess the project.  For exhibition the image requires printing to photo rag archival paper and framing, to approx. 100cm x 100cm.


More about her:

23. Jae O'Donnell - concept for a work

Thank you for holding this space to slowly be with and honour our trees. Within my arts practice, I work with children and people living with dementia… we are deeply moved by the trees surrounding us ~ sustaining us on Wurundjeri Country. At the heart of my multimodal arts practice is a deep respect for nature, and in turn, life… slowly gathering and regathering.

As we tend to our fallen trees within the June – July storms of last year in our beautiful hills, I see TREE as a movement honouring our overlapping communities of trees on Wurundjeri Country and in Naarm, together. I am also looking forward to becoming a part of the citizen forester program.

w e a r e l i s t e n i n g, from the trees to you, is a movement series honouring the relationship and intersubjective space between the [Ficus Moreton Bay Fig] tree and my body.

Offering stills from our movement and rest together, the following is our beginning dialogue…

w e a r e l i s t e n i n g

to the earth

under your footsteps

w e a r e l i s t e n i n g

from the trees



w e a r e l i s t e n i n g

coming out of monologue

into heart based dialogue

w e a r e l i s t e n i n g

honouring we are here now

w e a r e l i s t e n i n g

will you

slow still

deeply listen


w e a r e l i s t e n i n g


o u root systems

growing ~ failing


w e a r e l i s t e n i n g

dis – ease



w e a r e l i s t e n i n g

wondering when you will save us

w e a r e l i s t e n i n g


life into our worlds


w e a r e l i s t e n i n g


in ways without words

will you listen too

sharing little gatherings


Still photographs from the performance/movement piece to be hung in the gallery.
I’m thinking two 16 x 24in approx – this plus the framing… As I haven’t done the movement, I am mindful of the photographs needing to be large enough to do it justice. Very happy to negotiate the size.

I acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the Country on which my work has been forming, the Bunurong/Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation, and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. I pay my respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.

Looking forward to connecting and gently journeying with your beautiful Climarte community in the years to come.


Instagram: @_sylvia.j_   @gatherartspace

24. Bridget Hillebrand - concept for a work

Please find below a written description of my idea for an artwork about a selected tree (ID: 1033636) from the City of Melbourne’s Urban forest Project. Please also find attached three images of current work and a concept image.

Idea / Concept
Tree ID: 1033636 Corymbia citriodora (Lemon-scented gum)

At the base of the stairs to Queen Victoria Gardens from St Kilda Road, Melbourne, stands a majestic, mature Corymbia citriodora (Lemon-scented gum).

Native to north-eastern Australia its striking tall trunk and bark – smooth, powdery white, has always engaged my attention on my walks home from the city. Its graceful crown of lemon-scented foliage has attracted native birds and pollinators to Melbourne’s urban streets for decades.

My artwork will reflect on the unique ephemeral tone, pattern and texture of the bark of this particular Corymbia citriodora, utilising innovative printmaking techniques and handmade paper. Just as the surface of the tree varies, the natural imperfections of the paper reveal the subtleties in fibre, tone and texture. Haptic visuality is the idea that seeing an object and its tactile surface is almost a way of touching the object itself. I encourage the viewer to immerse in the subtleties of tonal variation and the tactile texture of this unique eucalypt.

English mathematician Charles Babbage marvelled at how tree rings record information about climate through time—my work reflects on the changing surface of the Lemon-scented gum’s ‘woody fabric’. As Babbage wrote, “Every shower that falls, every change of temperature that occurs, and every wind that blows, leaves on the vegetable world the traces of its passage.” (Babbage 1837:258)

My concept image (see attached) depicts a folded sheet of paper with printed soft, muted tones suggesting the bark of the selected Lemon-scented gum. The artwork will hang freely from the wall supported by neodymium magnets to allow close examination without the hindrance of a glazed surface. I have provided three examples of recent printed works on paper that similarly explore the materiality of physical and implied texture in constructed printed washi paper. My concept is to produce a print that honours the unique texture and colour of the Corymbia citriodora and celebrate a moment in time in the long history of this significant gum in our Melbourne urban forest.


Babbage C (1837) Ninth Bridgewater Treatise: A Fragment. J. Murray, London

More about her:

25. Erica Dunkley - concept for a work

Perceive: Outside Observation is a suite of three small-scale framed etchings on paper, portraying intense feelings that arise through the appreciation of visible elements and details of plant life. These multi-layered copper plate etchings encourage the viewer to expand their observations of plant life from a purely objective perspective, to incorporate subjective emotional states. The series is an intense celebration of the textures, movement, colour and forms revealed by close and sustained consideration of natural subject matter, and is a portrayal of the dynamic feelings the natural world sparks within an observer.

Intuitive and emotionally-charged reactions to details of living botanical specimens have been etched onto copper plates from direct observations of natural material. These sensations and impressions create an abstract landscape of raw emotions, with an interplay of evocative colours, marks and shapes. Rich and varied colours and gradients underly each copper plate layer, applied with differing transparencies, and integrated with distinctive etched lines. Elements of living matter are captured and refracted, reflecting a single moment of an ever-changing subject. Highly meditative and contemplative intaglio techniques are employed in this series, in a sequential multi-plate process. This multi-plate aspect of the copper plate etching process, where the image emerges through stages of increasing development, recalls the growth and temporal processes of germination and maturation during a plant’s life-cycle.

Etching is often a labyrinth-like process that moves me into flow state, where the care and awareness given to the process of making shifts my headspace to deep concentration and attunement to the subject matter. This incredible sense of care and intimacy that is fostered through creating holds a similarity to the way humankind’s perspective on nature can manifest a positive mode of closeness and attachment, or indifference. My floristry and horticultural training imbues my artistic practice with a background of detailed observation and appreciation of flora, providing an intimate understanding, adoration, and close ties to plant life. I aim to express this awe of plant life, by representing the dynamic emotions flora’s captivating natural forms, colours, and textures stir. I also hope that my etchings spark an awareness and curiosity within viewers to appreciate the living world around us with fresh eyes, and recognise the seemingly mundane, but incredibly beautiful details of nature present across Melbourne.

More about Erica @theprintmakingflorist

26. Chantelle Mitchell & Jaxon Waterhouse - concept for a work

Our proposal for Climarte, Ash Bed Effect, is a work emerging from our ongoing investigations into ecology and matter, as read through heat — manifest both in cities as heat islands, and as part of a broader figuration of the contemporary as ‘pyrocene.’ Environmental historian Stephen J. Pyne positions the eucalyptus tree as having a unique biotic relationship with fire, particularly as read through colonial occupation and contemporary landscape (mis)management. This work materializes the entanglements between the eucalyptus tree and flames, in recognition of the increasing criticality with which heat and fire threaten ecologies, people and places within the amidst climate crisis. Recognising the symbolic resonance and cultural affection for eucalyptus trees, against the backdrop of this biotic relationship, we will gather fallen branch, bark and leaf matter from a specific eucalyptus tree in Naarm, which we will burn down to create charcoal and ash.

Our work will be constituted of a small, wall mounted perspex tray, filled with the charcoal remnants of our eucalyptus tree. Inserted within this wall mounted tray, supported by the wall behind, will be an engraved sheet of perspex, upon which we will etch a small poetic text documenting our encounter with this specific tree, and the material consequences of burning and combustion.

Chantelle Mitchell & Jaxon Waterhouse
Ecological Gyre Theory

27. Aleshanee Faery - concept for a work

My name is Aleshanee Faery.  My submission is an ink on paper illustration and mono-print featuring a mature Eucalyptus tree.

I want to do more than draw a pretty picture. I will create images using mark-making tools made of tree-parts and twine to paint with. My interactions with the trees are a part of the creative process. I made tools with fallen sticks, leaves, & gum nuts collected from the base of the tree.

I sought out two mature Eucalyptus trees that I have noticed before. The trees I selected are not on the Urban Forest map but they are within Carlton Gardens, near the Melbourne Museum and Exhibition buildings.

I would like to honour the resilience of an isolated gum tree in the western plaza. I imagine seeing the land it as it was before the gardens & buildings surrounded the tree. I’ll imagine the effect of the underground car-park constraining the spread of it’s roots.
This tree has seen many changes over time, yet it still provides home & food for possums, birds & insects. It shades concrete and cleans air for everyone.

If I can access a large printing press then I will emboss leaf impressions into cotton-rag paper. I envisage a multi-layered cascade of leaves across the page.
The rough-barked tree to the east of the Museum has very long broad leaves ideal for this medium. You can see examples of my technique in the photograph from the 2022 Queer Voices exhibition.

Thank you for the inspiring artworks promoted by Climarte. The artists brief of TREE has sparked many more ideas. I am excited and look forward to the results of all participating artists.

28. Taryn Raffan - concept for a work

Currently I live in Brisbane, and in 2018 during an extremely hot summer day I escaped my very hot Queensland home to seek a cooler environment and respite under a very large Agathis Queensland kauri pine tree located in the City of Brisbane’s Botanical Gardens nestled along the Brisbane River. I spent most of my day under this tree feeling grateful and thinking of the hardship faced by so many people who lacked access to environmentally sound shelters in a variety of complex circumstances. In amongst resting, eating, drinking water and sketching I wondered how this experience would impact my life and experiences to come.
Now, years later, after navigating the information provided on the Urban Forest website, I was able to locate a run of six juvenile kauri pines leading up to the Shrine of Remembrance located on the edge of the Royal Botanical Gardens, Melbourne. As I found these, I immediately knew it was this tree with which I would like to explore and further research to enhance my understanding and others of the ancient trees of the Gondwana Rainforests and their impacts on Australia’s ecosystem.
On a broader approach, and throughout my own research and practice, I like to explore notions of comfort within the landscape and everyday life; along with the idea in which objects can hold sentient energy, especially once influenced by an experience in nature. Loosely mirroring notions of Shinto belief systems surrounding objects as sources of energy, life and/or consciousness, my artworks and drawings attempt to embody some of these things.
I have recently completed a series of small studies/drawings based on the Antarctic beech trees after having hiked for a few days through the Lamington National Park, QLD. These trees which are still found within the Gondwana Rainforest conservation area between Brisbane and Sydney.  From these I am now creating larger scale drawings which are similar in size to my proposed Urban Forest artwork proposal of 90x90cm, of which one has been entered into the JADA, 2022. Leading the drawings of the beech and kauri trees to lend themselves toward a much bigger exploration for myself and my practice over the coming months and years.
If presented with this project opportunity I would like to draw a representation of the seed pods from a fully grown Agathis Queensland kauri pine with pencil focusing on shading to emphasise form and sentient life.

29. Kathy Holowko - concept for a work

Artists: Kathy Holowko & Sarah Moore

As an artist I am interested in the effects that urban life has upon our understanding of ecology. In busy, human centric environments, I search for narratives and connections that can help us reconsider our world as a cyclical, and shared habitat. My proposal for the ‘Tree’ project is a collaboration with artist Sarah Moore.
Many years ago as sculpture students we made a series of ‘tree drawings’ together, which we would like to recreate. The work is not a drawing of a tree but rather the drawing from a tree. We gave trees and the wind agency, markers and paper – recording the movement of the branches in the climatic atmosphere of a day. We observed natural tree drawings in the dirt or sand where low growing branches would scratch and move the surface, before the wind or rain would sweep it away to present a new canvas the following day. The arboreal scribblings can be viewed as note taking, or even scientific calculations where knowledge of climatic conditions inform a response for success and survival. This is where we can learn from the drawing tree.
Harnessing this anthropomorphic artistry is a beautifully slow process which will require careful observation to discover a species located within the Urban Forest Project that will be our collaborator, and we can’t wait.

This work will be presented as a framed original drawing on good quality paper.

About Kathy:


30. Robbie Harmsworth - concept for a work

Climarte TREE Project – Robbie Harmsworth.
I propose to create a drawing, 120x120cm, based on a ‘portrait’ of the eucalyptus cornuta, (see example – 2019, Boho River Red Gum, graphite on Arches 300gsm paper, 150x100cm) I have attached images of sections of the tree, which I intend to couple together to create a sense of grandeur and power; accentuating the tree’s vast reach into the environment.

Upon reading the City of Melbourne’s Urban Forest brief, I was moved by the phrase ‘Creating a city within a forest, not a forest within a city.’
My intense interest in trees and forests has been at the forefront of my art practice, with a particular interest in the destruction of forests in Tasmania, (the wilful logging Styx and Florentine Valley, and currently the efforts of the Bob Brown foundation to obstruct the creation of a toxic waste dump in the Tarkine) also the logging of the Toolangi State forest threatening the survival of the leadbeater possum.

Mythology has also been a major influence on my practice. The Ancient Greeks considered the Oak tree to be inhabited by the Dryads or ‘spirits of the tree’, and much of my drawing has involved creating large scale portraits of trees: from the ancient oaks in the Peloponnese in Greece, to the magnificent eucalypts on Australian forests.

On reading the brief from Climate’s collaboration with the City of Melbourne, ‘Tree’, and researching the precincts, I chose South Yarra and in particular the trees on the Domain, as this area has been a major part of my life since arriving in Melbourne. I was particularly drawn to the eucalyptus cornuta on the corner of Domain and Birdwood Avenue, a ‘significant tree’ on the National Trust Register, having been planted by Baron Von Mueller, from seed he collected from South West Australia. The magnificent ‘Yate’ tree is 21m tall and has a 2m circumference. The tree is 140 years old, and deemed in poor condition.

I felt drawn to make a portrait of this beautiful specimen, particularly in light of its poor health and the question as to its legacy.
(I was particularly taken by the large felled elm near the Birdwood Avenue entrance to the Botanical gardens, which has been made into sculptural seats surrounding the stump, thus honouring its past life. Also the current ‘Lightscape’ exhibition highlights the oak by beaming a light sculpture of a young oak in front of the stump; a fitting expression of the old being replaced by the new.)

My ‘portrait’ would be a drawing on paper in graphite, coloured
pencil and collage, approximately 120x120cm. (see attached file)


About Robbie:

31. Jarrad Martyn - concept for a work

I have submitted a photographic study which would be used as a reference to make the painting, that I’ve named Hilltop for the exhibition. The work explores the function of trees being used as sites to support local flora and fauna. Hilltop depicts a mature Cedrus Deodar (Urban Forest Project ID 1039833) which is located in Flagstaff Gardens in West Melbourne. I walk through the gardens multiple times a week, often later at night where I see multiple types of possums running between trees,  Brush Tail and Ring Tail Possums. Given the central location of the park and recently moved to Melbourne, I’m often taken back at seeing large marsupials successfully living in the CBD.

In Hilltop the tree is presented as being large and important, it dominates the composition. The largeness of the tree compared to neighbouring trees and its location in Flagstaff Gardens act as a landmark for the community to navigate. The two possums which are  situated at the trunk of the tree are small, as if looking up to the powerful tree.

The scene slips in between night and dusk times of day, highlighting the two different functions of the tree to the Possum, that as a home during the day and as a place it moves through at night when retrieving food. Over laid across the scene are patches of translucent saturated colours. These colour arrangements stems from the graphics used in weather forecast patterns. These patterns have been sourced from a map depicting two different weather conditions experienced in Melbourne. One of the weather forecast patterns represents the December 2019 Brushfires Heat Wave, while another reflects the expected yearly average of ‘expected’ weather conditions. This contrast between normal and extreme, combined with the otherworldliness created by the stylisation encourages the audience to consider how the climate is changing and how this effects the local flora and fauna.

The handling of the paint will be characterised by making adjustments to the opacity, texture, and clarity of the paint. The aim is to make the surface of the painting tactile, the resulting contrast in painting language encourages the audience to look longer, to deduce links between, and decipher their own conclusions as to what events are unfolding, and the symbolic meanings within.

His website:

32. Jan McLellan Rizzo - completed work

My selected tree is the Golden Elm ,City of Melbourne ID 1028612, on the corner of Alexandra Ave and Punt Rd.
It’s extraordinary that this beautiful tree, planted in 1900, has survived on  such a busy corner beside the river. I’ve looked out for this tree for my whole life and it must have a generous heart.
The Melbourne City Council website nominates the diameter ‘at breast height’. I loved this definition because the breast is where the heart is.  My homage to this beautiful tree, a source of oxygen and Summer shade, a home for wildlife, a green refuge for picnics especially when the ground is blanketed with daffodils in late Winter, is a rubbing of the circumference (562cm) of the Elm on a strip of paper the width of an ECG printout.
The Elm was planted in 1900.  In the same year my tiny doll’s house cup and saucer were created and are included to symbolise all the sustaining moments of reflection, celebration and hospitality under the extended boughs of this beautiful tree.
The larger image is my installation to honour the Golden Elm.  It contains elm leaves, a 562cm strip of Fabriano paper with rubbings made with 4B graphite stick, a doll’s china tea cup and saucer, a tiny collage image of daffodils and an owl feather.
In the last two years my practice has focused on the value of Nature especially in the lives of young children and the restorative quality of engaging with places outdoors which nurture us.
The three smaller images are of past works created in response to Lockdown, limited access to our local park and the destruction of a favourite old gum tree during a dreadful storm.

33. Keely Varmalis - concept for a work

My name is Keely Varmalis and I am applying for the Tree Exhibition to be held at Forty Five Downstairs in October.

My artistic practice has long been obsessed with the forms and growths of trees. I am constantly drawing and thinking of roots. What is below the surface? What is shielded in the invisibility of the protective soil? How far do your roots extend? Who do they communicate with in their intricate nutrient networks and systems? How do roots anchor and position a tree as a landmark, a spectator? What have they seen, and what would they say if they could speak?

Drawing from the form of Daphne, I believe in the transference of energy from human death into new tree life; an infinite cosmic fusing. I am currently researching the collapse of language associations between water, death, grief and femininity. This often manifests sculpturally through the form of the tree, acting as a mirrored representation of an organic, flowing, empathetic landscape.

My proposed sculptural work for this exhibition is a fine, narrow tree with large, curved, bulging roots that extend over a rectangular plinth. The tree will be constructed out of steel, chicken wire and woven copper shim. Its form will be similar to my first attached image ‘Collapse,’ falling organically, and in warm golden tones of stained copper. I propose the size somewhere around 2.3m high, and 1.5m long, this may be altered to work within the space and height of the room, or could be miniaturised, depending on your preferences.

Working with copper, I connect with personal matrilineal craft traditions, and as a metal it is beautiful and soft and malleable. In my installations I often work with found objects, holding sympathetic conversations with discarded household items. As an artist I am concerned with consumer fast-fashion and the sheer amount of unnecessary objects being discarded and produced each year. My sculptures aim to rehouse the lonely domestic objects that have been previously rendered useless. There is an opportunity and preference to use a found object as the support that the tree sits upon and the roots grow around, such as a beautiful small wooden table, or some rectangular object that is coloured in a deep rust brown to highlight the shine of the copper.

Keely’s instagram here:

This sounds like a wonderful exhibition and I will enjoy researching the Urban Forest project deeper

34 & 35. Emily Shannon - concepts for two works

34 – TITLE: ‘Symbiotic Synergy’

TREE: London Plane tree in Parkville with native mistletoe, yet to be confirmed. Selection of the appropriate tree would best be undertaken in partnership with botanical experts and close observation. The tree selected would possibly be one of the many on Park Drive (such as #1493167).


‘Symbiotic Synergy’ explores the complexities of natures symbiotic relationships through depicting a parasitic plant, the Australian native creeping mistletoe (muellerina eucalptoides), on it’s deciduous London Plane tree host. Symbiotic relationships exist in nature which benefit both organisms (mutualism), or where one organism benefits at the expense of the other (parasitism). The native mistletoe was introduced in 2017 by Melbourne City Council to boost biodiversity – tapping into it’s hosts root system without killing it, increasing shelter and food resources from the tree all year round. The mistletoe featuring on the plane tree is both a parasite of its host plant and a mutualist of the pollinators that feed on its berries and disperse its seeds – a synergy of symbiosis. The complexities of symbiosis thickens where organisms show capacity to shift from parasitic to mutualistic, which has been recently discovered in a science lab.

‘Symbiotic Synergy’ explores the concept of being both parasitic and mutualistic, raising questions such as : What symbiotic relationships do humans contribute to? In what ways are humans parasitic? In what ways are humans mutualistic? Is there scope for any change or ‘evolution’ to take place within their symbiotic relationships over time?

‘Symbiotic Synergy’ will be a mixed media work depicting the unusual display of mistletoe leaves which mimic eucalypts (their usual hosts) on the bare bones of a deciduous plane tree during winter. The plane tree will be overlaid with ephemeral gold leaf pollinator line drawings.

Most of the artwork will be created from organic resources sourced from the site of the selected tree. Paper will be hand made using a mould and deckle in the artists studio using rubbish collected near the site of the selected tree. It is hoped that the paper will also be embedded with seeds collected from the site, where permission is granted from the DELWP. Drawing ink will be made from extracting tannins from found bark and leaves, and drawing implements will be made from found sticks. These sustainable art processes are to exemplify a mutualistic symbiosis – as rubbish was collected & the tree was ‘cared for’ in the process of art making. The gold leaf, and some acrylic paints express a parasitic symbiosis – where ultimately, the tree will suffer as a result of using microplastic products created and transported using non-sustainable means.

35. TITLE : The Embrace

TREE : Redgum by the Yarra #1041138


‘The Embrace’ depicts the moments following a long Shinrin Yoku session (forest bathe) by the artist with this river redgum, culminating in a long and steady hug. Using a technique of mono printing that the artist has developed in her art studio she hopes to capture this precise moment by pressing her body onto a layer of prepared clay, mounted onto a backing, positioned around the circumference of the trees trunk. She will then transfer this imprint using block ink in her studio onto a heavily weighted A2 sheet of watercolour paper with a deckle edge. This depicted intimate embrace is to move viewers towards considering what small behaviour changes they may also ‘embrace’ towards caring for this tree – and other trees that use the Yarra as a water source. Storm water run off is the largest cause of pollution in the Yarra, and it is also avoidable. It is hoped that this work may be accompanied with a message / QR code / interactive element encouraging the public to pledge action they may ‘embrace’ to protect their local waterways, the life source of their trees.

‘Shinrin Yoku’ is Japanese for ‘forest bathing’, a time to take in trees through senses. Feeling. Smelling. Tasting. Seeing. Listening. Standing in their presence in awe. Bathing in it’s shade, it’s shelter, it’s mindfulness. Drinking in it’s life. Drinking in it’s history.

Red Gum Giants hundreds of years old stud the flood plains of Melbourne. This is one such tree, watching over a river that once flowed cleaner in its youth. The land clearing and development in the 1800s saw many small clay particles muddy up the waters, when the river was also widened to reduce flood damage to dwellings. The tree drinks through it’s contaminated clay soil, an adaptable species that can tolerate some of the pollution that is mostly from avoidable stormwater run off. Younger more sensitive species haven’t got a chance. It enjoys its home where 18 species of frogs, 170 species of birds and 1 specie of homo sapien frequent its hollows, fallen branches and leafy canopy. It is a bustling hive for activity, providing shelter and food to more organisms than the skyscrapers that it competes with for morning sun. It’s trunk spirals and bubbles, undulating eternally upwards. It’s busy leaves hold a thousand whispers hostage. It’s bark’s scars pulse silently.


her website:

36. Zahra Marsous - concept for a work (similar to these)

The theme and subject of “tree” is so fascinating and impressive for me as I have always been inspired by nature, specifically by trees and plants.

Since I live and work in the Melbourne CBD, I usually go for a walk in the Royal Botanical Gardens and all the other lush and green gardens around it, and use them as a source of inspiration for my artwork. I have several drawings and paintings in which I have used a photo of a certain tree from Melbourne.

I believe a modern city plantation acts as a bright beam outshining through concrete structures.

I have a plan to create three drawings of a certain tree, but with different human figures in each one. I would like to show how trees are always supportive and a relief refuge for us, humans. They are always there standing solid and embracing, while we are the passing bystanders favoured by them.

I have attached a few samples of my previous drawings on the subject of nature and human connection. I’d like to create 3 new drawings with the same style and same medium (Ink on Paper) but with a specific tree from the City of Melbourne.

Each drawing will be 29×42 cm (A3) size

37. Heather Hesterman - concept for a work

The Gingko Tree is considered a rare fossil, a species virtually unchanged from the Jurassic period, with fan shaped leaves. Gingko specimens have been recorded at 3500 and 1400 years old.

The Gingko in Flagstaff gardens, asset ID# 1039927 on MCC Urban Forest Map is a tree of significance, notably a mature specimen second to the first Maidenhair tree planted in the Geelong Botanical Gardens in 1859. Placed on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List, the gingko is classed as endangered, making this species important both horticulturally and culturally. As this species requires 1000’s of years to adapt and evolve not decades, warming temperatures due to climate change is resulting in increased tree morbidity across forests worldwide.

In the spirit of the correspondence received and answered by the Urban Forest Landscape Team, this artwork will incorporate printing on paper and watercolour, with imagined letters to this particular Gingko Tree. The text of the letter will be hand-written and typed, forming a landscape of language that references historic forms of recording information as well as the digital. Printing by hand offers a return to the gesture and hand-made that echoes the idea of gardening, hands art making and tending to plants. The gingko leaves have certain medicinal properties, and ink made from the leaves will be used as another form of invaluable record. This artwork will incorporate the shape of gingko leaves in its design as a form of absence, or negative space, suggesting future losses. The text as a human-made construct informs and records the features of the gingko tree, thus the printed word becoming a more durable record than the living tree.

Heather Hesterman:

38. Olga Dziemidowicz - concept for a work

“Celebrating 1029363”

This work is a celebration of the mature tree number 1029363 that stands directly in front of the entry to the NGV.

The Platanus has been providing oxygen, shade, beauty and more long before the building of the National Gallery has even been built and housing artworks.

I believe that the  contribution made by the tree 1029363, as well as many other (especially  mature ) trees should  be celebrated.

In our society  we often underestimate the long and important contributions older people have made.  It’s more than likely that that’s  happening to trees as well.  When trees get too old, too sick and frail they are simply cut, removed or otherwise  disposed of and forgotten. I’d like to commemorate and celebrate their  contribution. To somehow “capture their  mark” and elevate it to signal and remember the tree that will have disappeared in the next years or decade (according to the urban forest website describing the future of mature trees)

To do that I’ve  created this work titled “commemorating 1029396”
It’s a frotage; an image created by rubbing with charcoal/graphite on paper put against the trunk of the tree. It creates an imprint of the rich  and abstract texture of the bark, capturing  the unique “bark print” of 1029363 at a point in time.

The images supplied are a proof of concept, a test done on basic paper that is of the wrong dimensions (more that 1.2m long) on the day before my departure to Europe.

For the final submission I will create a similar frotage of tree 1029363 on paper of a more suitable quality and dimensions.

I’m  planning to test a 100cmx100cm and 80x120cm sized papers and evaluate the resulting outcomes to choose the  final piece. I’m  open  to curatorial suggestions  if allowed too.

The bark imprint is a unique pattern. Like a unique portrait made at a point in time, it will capture the specific and unique characteristics of tree 1029363 in an artistic way, and commemorate its contribution for years to come.

39. Rod Gray - finished work

The Trees/Climarte callout prompted me to make a horizontal work, a canopy-spread work, nocturnal, but burnished by the sun and darkened by the night. Duty-bound as I am to the many trees I’ve been lucky enough to live under and amongst, those trees living-large through their canopy, a vast Oak we enjoyed in a tiny rental backyard visited by ducks – a huge Murray River red gum at the end of our street which has often housed tawny frogmouths, the Moreton Bay figs I used to draw flying foxes in and sit amongst at the Bot. Gardens when I was a teenager at VCA learning from trees about light, colour and the visual field- always activated and interacted with by living biota launched into the air from trees.

In this work I have reacted to a Moreton Bay fig darkening in the immensity of the impending night, starlit and deepening of the brighter colours – bleeding into the darkling density of a crepuscular transfiguration. The paper has become an object soaked in temperature and colour. Urban life in Naarm/Melbourne has always seemed to me to be lived amongst a stressed eco system of trees, plants, grasses and wildlife, development, traffic and noise, I wanted this work to bear the sense of the encroachment, the defiance implicit in the lives of urban trees. It will be framed behind non reflective Art-Glass floated on nocturnally black archival board.

His site:

40. Felicity Gordon - concept for a work

In an ear of climate warming Melbourne is cooled during summer by an urban forest of over 70,000 trees.  The tree species are predominately Maple, Elms, Planes and Eucalyptus.  They foster biodiversity, provide clean air and offer habitat for birds and animals.

During periods of covid lockdown many people who live in the city said they developed an increased awareness of nature.  People noticed the seasonal change of trees, insects and animals they sustain.  Without street trees our experience of the city would be vastly different.

Humans have not created the only living city communities.  Trees connect with each other, forming symbiotic communities.  Through close proximity, the roots of street trees are able to share minerals and sugars to help sick or stressed neighbours.  They often seed at the same time, offering renewal and new growth.

The tree I have chosen to advocate for is the Acer Maple a tree from the Sycamore family.  One particular tree near the corner of Faraday and Canning St in Carlton is wonderful example of the species.  The tree is in its early years and forms part of a lime green colonnade along Canning Street.   During winter it loses it leaves reserving energy to renew itself in spring.

I’m fascinated by Maple tree seeds.  It seems incredible that a majestic tree grows from such a small package full of energy and DNA to produce a botanic giant.  I have been creating papier-mâché Sycamore tree seeds experimenting with scale and aerodynamic qualities.

I propose to contribute a series of relief sculptural seeds fitting into a 120cm x 120cm square on the gallery wall.  They are very light and can be attached using thin pins.  If the exhibition curator would prefer 2D work I could create a collage work representing the Acer Maple tree seeds.  I’m keen to develop both options and hope to be able to contribute a different way of seeing Melbourne trees.

41. Janice Gobey - Concept for a work

Sketch drawing of the concept.

3 images attached – the final paintings will be in a similar style
When I wanted to leave South Africa in 2001, I identified Melbourne as a city of interest. I visited and one of the lasting impressions it made on me was the beautiful Autumn trees.  I have now lived here for 21 years and am in the Autumn of my own life. The tree I selected was 1040102 a Liquidamber Styraciflua, planted in 1998. I find the colours of this tree and it’s relatives irresistible, the beautiful yellows, golds, oranges, burgundy and red leaves so rich in colour.  Whilst in lockdown, I started to create paintings looking up into these trees, maybe as a form of escape.  The trees represented life and freedom to me. When I first worked in the city, I used to go to Treasury Gardens to escape the stress of starting life again in a new city, eating my lunch under the beautiful trees and connecting with nature. I can’t imagine the city without trees, it would be devastating if the climate changes to such an extent that these trees can no longer survive.

This work will consist of 4 small paintings 30 x 30 cm square arranged in a grid format – they represent different angles of the tree, to form a sort of whole tree, all looking up into the tree giving an unusual and slightly disorientating view. The reference photographs that I have taken all represent Autumn and the paintings will be made using oil paint on 300 gsm Arches Oil Paper. These will be in turn mounted and floated in a frame and should be around 1m in total. Just to clarify it is 4 works making 1 work in total, not 4 individual works.

Her website:

42. Myra Holmes - concept for a work

We rarely look up when out walking in the suburban jungle but there is a hidden majestic beauty above, an intricate network of power lines intersecting with tree branches and tree trunks growing side by side with utility poles. The sad irony is these wooden utility poles were once tall trees growing in a forest until they were cut down, milled, and placed in rows lining our urban streets. Our urban tree lined streets in Melbourne provide multiple ecosystem services, they contribute to improving ambient quality and beautify the anthropic environment and promote place identity and cultural heritage. This unnatural co-existence also provides highways for possums and perches for our bird and animal life.

The street where I live is lined with London plane trees and many of these trees are over 80 to 100 years old. While admired by some for their hardiness and the benefits of providing extensive cooling and shading they are also unpopular. One of the aims of the City of Melbourne’s Urban Forest Strategy is to reduce the dominance of Plane Trees in the central city and replace them with indigenous species such as Moreton Bay figs, jacarandas, and sweet gums which are more resistant to climate change and will provide a more diverse and natural environment for bird and animal life.

As we face the challenges of climate change in an urban environment these beautiful trees which grace our streets will be replaced with new and more suitable trees. Plane trees signify our relationship with the past, with links to a previous colonial heritage and represent a time when plants and humans and human infrastructure have been considered as independent from each other.  Before they disappear, I would like to document their existence and historical value as a record of a period in time in Melbourne, and as we transition to a time where we have a more sensitive plant-human relationship and coexistence for the future.

43. Caitlin Dear - concept for a work

Description of Artwork:

I propose to create a new visual artwork, specific to both the TREE exhibition context and my chosen tree.

The work will serve as an intimate portrait of this specific tree. Honouring it through and beyond its aesthetic value; drawing primary focus to representing the tree as a living, social, connected and alive unique individual being.

In my portrait, I will connect viewers with the aliveness and livelihood of this tree. Focusing on the visual principles of movement and rhythm, whilst depicting the various scales of movement/change occurring within trees through the subject matter. I will combine imagery of bark layers, fresh foliage and fallen leaves.

In order to depict the tree meaningfully as an individual being, I will visit it once a week over several months. During these visits, I will be working with my existing processes of somatic/dance practice. These were developed for my previous live art and performance projects with trees and allow me to connect with trees using my body, senses and movement.

After this preliminary process, I will have an intimate knowledge and connection to my selected tree, in order to produce the portrait.

Depending on my process, and CLIMARTE’s preferences, the final medium will either be:

a) A digital photographic collage (can be printed to the requested dimensions and be presented framed or unframed depending on curatorial preference). For reference, please see a previous digital photographic collage I completed as a tree portrait (file name: Caitlin-Dear-Photographic-Tree-Portrait).

b) A mixed-media portrait, made of fallen tree materials, collected over the duration of my process. I will recycle fabric from a rug to form a base on top of which I will weave and glue together the collected bark, sticks, leaves and so forth into a dynamic and abstract portrait. For reference, please see my attached sketch. This sketch shows a section of completed mixed media portrait, as well as sections of ’empty’ fabric which will not be visible in a completed work (file name: Caitlin-Dear-Tree-Materials-Collage).

In order to select a tree from City of Melbourne’s Urban Forest Project, I hope to be able to work with CLIMARTE and City of Melbourne Arborists to pick a mature native tree that is of particular ecological significance.

The ability to deepen my understanding of the significance of local trees, as well as my connections to local tree-lovers, is a particular exciting aspect of this program.

My concept is driven by my belief that if we can expand our personal connections and experiences with trees, we will feel a greater responsibility to account for them (and for the broader planet) within our lives, our societies, our ethics and our politics. Distilling a wish for monumental shifts, down to personal connections between local humans and trees… What if learning about how we relate to trees and encouraging members of the public to do so, could be a gateway for all of us to think more broadly about how humans participate in the natural systems of this planet?

My Broader Work With Trees:

I have a project called Tree Time which is an ongoing, multifaceted artistic project exploring human-tree relations. It materialises twofold: as a participatory live art work for one human and one tree to experience together, and an ongoing practice-based research project exploring how human and tree bodies may interrelate and interact.

I’ve presented this project around Sweden and Melbourne, including for City of Yarra, c3 contemporary artspace (Abbotsford Convent), Index the Swedish Contemporary Art Center, Stockholm University of the Arts and Malmö Academy of Music.

To read more, please visit: 

I also have a project in development called Tree Tours which I would love to speak with CLIMARTE about.

This work will be a participatory live art experience using the format of a group tour. It will involve taking people on a site-specific tour. I will share stories about local trees and information on the role of trees/forests/green spaces within climate cycles, as well as the ways that human and tree bodies can biologically interact. More importantly, I will bring people into simple physical exercises (drawing upon my dance background and research from Tree Time) that enable participants to form embodied connections to local trees.

As part of my process for this work I will be undertaking cultural consultations with Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung Elders, as well as working with Arts Access Victoria to ensure the work is widely accessible.

About Me:

I am queer, gender-diverse and disabled artist with an autistic special-interest in trees. I am extremely passionate about exploring new ways to connect diverse audiences with local trees. I believe that if we are to solve the climate crisis and reassess the position(s) of humans within natural systems, then we will need the unbound freedom, self-determination, creativity and sensitivity that art can afford us. I would be very excited to work with CLIMARTE on this mission.

For further see: