Trees of Life Reclaimed: A Community Collaborates

2011 ArtPrize Entry
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African American slaves brought with them a tradition of bottle trees. To capture evil spirits they hung colorful glass bottles from trees to attract them. The spirits would be mesmerized by the colors yet be unable to escape the bottle.My tree is made of recycled plastic bottles, painted with color, and cut open. It represents a day when there are no evil spirits and when all spirits are free. I use trash as a medium in order to communicate the transforming power of creativity. What was discarded, worthless, is redeemed, becoming something not only tolerated, but treasured. I enjoy including the public in the process, setting up on-site recycling, teaching the methods of cutting, coloring, and shaping water and soda bottles so that the method then moves into the homes, schools, and places of work of the people who participate. I have published and taught the method widely and would like local schools create pieces that would be included at installation.

Entry Details
  • Art form: 3-D
  • Depth: 20 feet
  • Medium: Recycled plastic bottles, acrylic paint, wood
  • Width: 25 feet
  • Year created: 0
  • Height: 12 feet

Venue & Connection Information

Venue Considerations
  • Special Lighting needed: No
  • Internet needed: No
  • Indoor Space needed: No
  • Outdoor Space needed: No
  • Audio/Video needed: No
  • Electrical needed: No

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