On 4 March, we opened the doors to Among the Trees, our group exhibition exploring our relationship with trees and forests. Within two weeks, we sadly had to make the decision to close the exhibition due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Since then we’ve been sharing all that we can of Among the Trees online. But exhibitions are nothing without you, our audience. So we called on you to get involved. Using the hashtag #SpringAmongtheTrees, we asked you to share your own images of trees – from quick pics snapped during your daily exercise, to photos from pre-lockdown travels. Your response has been uplifting and inspiring.
We’re delighted to share some of our favourites, below, as part of a celebration of Earth Day 2020, marking 50 years of the global environmental movement.
Where better to start than first thing in the morning, and this tree of St James’s Park captured in the early light by Andrea Murray-Slinn.
Tom Miller has also been enjoying morning walks, here are three images of trees in varying stages of spring from his early strolls Hampstead Heath.
Spring is of course the time when many trees move away from their tertiary colours of the harsher months, sometimes spectacularly so.
From the bright white flowers of Grounded Impressions’ photo above, to the near luminous pinks of Miranda Westwood’s picture below, we’ve had some beautiful pictures of trees in blossom.
We’re not the only ones enjoying the blooming flowers of the season, Phil Chappel spotted a little visitor hovering along to do the same in his back garden.
Those of you, like Phil, who are lucky enough to have your own green space will no doubt be enamoured with the trees that greet you every day. Many institutions too have a fondness for their nearby foliage. Brixton Windmill shared this photo of the lime trees which abut the path to the mill.
Not all trees are a riot of colour at this time of year, but that doesn’t make them any less spectacular, as Elmo Relzig’s photo shows.
Kim Van Russelt’s photo also gives a great perspective on the remarkable structure of trees; their branches climbing upwards towards the light.
For many of us right now, a glimpse of green through a window is as close to the trees as we can be. So this photo from kathezine is one that’s certainly indicative of spring 2020.
And it's not just humans that are feeling confinement during lockdown, Alan James spotted this tree in London’s Bedford Square attempting to edge beyond its nearest boundary.
That wasn’t our only photo of the arboreal and the human world merging as one; Jan Risba’s submission captured two different forms of human shadows left on a tree trunk.
On the subject of shadows, a timely reminder from Dr Katy Barrett here that you don’t always have to look up to see the trees.
Though our own lives may seem in stasis right now, the same cannot be said of nature. Chris Hamer’s submission documents the remarkable change in appearance of the great oak of Tottenham’s Bruce Castle Park over just one week in April.
The trees you’ve sent us haven’t been limited to London; Janey was inspired to share this wonderful black and white image from a pre-lockdown trip to Sri Lanka.
And, ‘Feeling very grateful to have this as our quarantine backyard after having to leave the UK unexpectedly,’ says Tania Ritchie of her photo, looking up among the branches.
OK, go on then, let’s have a couple more stunning photos of trees in blossom. Here’s a beautifully layered shot from Hannah Platts.
And we’re also big fans of the colours in this photo from Olga Hart-Antoniadou; the pinks of the blossom and the brown hue of the leaves offering a nice soft contrast.
And lastly, but not least, it was great to see the Arts Council Collection also get involved in our spring Among the Trees celebration, by nominating two pieces from their collection.
The photo above is Charlie Meecham’s Forest of Dean 5 (2018), part of an ongoing project that investigates how we relate to our immediate and surrounding environment. Whilst the image below is Edward Burra’s 1942 painting, Blasted Oak.
The show must go on(line)
Sadly, for everyone’s safety, our venues are currently closed. But you can still get your Southbank Centre fix online. We will continue to share inspiring and thought-provoking arts stories through our website and social channels.
As a charity, we rely on ticket sales for a huge chunk of our income. But now they’ve stopped. And it's a huge worry to us, and the people we work with. We all need the escape of art and culture; it can inspire and unite us. So please – if you can afford to – consider a donation to the Southbank Centre today, to help us be there for you in the future.