The Tree of Life is an archetype, theme, motif, image, spiritual concept and mythological story that is found across cultures and throughout human history. It is understood to connect all forms of creation and is a cosmic conception that embodies life’s mysteries, unites the heavens, the earth, and the underworld, and is seen as a representation of everlasting life. Its various interpretations from indigenous cultures and major religions have influenced art, architecture, and visual representation for millennia.
This international exhibition explores the ways in which the Tree of Life has been represented in Central, South, East, and South-east Asia and includes the artwork of 58 artists and craftspeople, many of whom are masters of their chosen form and some who are Living National Treasures* in their countries of origin. The artworks are as diverse as the cultures they originate from and are both traditional and contemporary. They are handcrafted from natural and sustainable materials, and include textiles, paintings, ceramics, weaving, leather, lacquerware, jewellery, stone, wood, and metal.
*Living National Treasures are individuals certified as preservers of important, intangible, cultural properties.