HINDU TREE VENERATION AS A MODE OF ENVIRONMENTAL ENCOUNTER

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Abstract
How we perceive and contemplate the land affects how we treat the land, and ultimately how we live within it. Thus, is it possible for the artist to change how we perceive the environment to the extent that people change the way they respond and inhabit it? Encounters with venerated and Sacred Trees on field trips to India lead me to consider that respect for the environment is strengthened by the symbolic nature of images. Beyond the economic or conservationist perspective, there is an aesthetic rationale for preserving trees in India, where the tree is perceived aesthetically in its natural environment as an object adorned, and subsequently adored. The historic and contemporary practice of venerating the tree through decoration has, over time, effected cultural change in India. The tree is perceived differently, it is seen as a form that houses the sacred, and thus is protected. Louise Fowler-Smith is a Senior Lecturer and Director of the Imaging the Land International Research Institute (ILIRI) at the College of Fine Arts, University of NSW in Sydney, Australia. ILIRI aims to promote new ways of perceiving the land in the 21st century, while opening a dialogue across a wide spectrum of contemporary approaches to imaging the land, from indigenous and non-indigenous, local and international perspectives. ILIRI has established a residential Art Centre at the UNSW Fowlers Gap Research station north of Broken Hill. As a member of RESARTIS, (the international association of Artists’ Residencies), ILIRI attracts national and international artists to reside and work at this unique centre on the edge of the Australian Desert.
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Fowler-Smith, Louise
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Publication Year
2009
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Journal Article
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