The Tree of Wisdom

The idea behind the decoration of the Tree of Wisdom is based on the thought that art, playing and learning can go together. Three child institutions are put under the same roof in a new construction and the decoration of the Tree of Wisdom is meant as a gathering point in the house.

An old tree possesses experience that contains everything, what it has “seen” through its long lifetime and it carries a perspective that is both experienced from an earth and a sky level. What if we could learn from it, to see with a larger perspective. The Tree of Wisdom tries to open up for a voyage of discovery of humans’ place in nature, create a room for playing, activities in nature and to create a joint narrative for the whole institution based on the tree.

The decoration takes up the whole one side and height of the wall in the common room and integrates in the architectural style, which is dominated by square windows into an activity room, and the walls wood panel cladding. The tree’s leaves are cut out as rectangular green paintings which are put together by painted wooden boards, on top of each other. Bees made of laser cut tree are placed around the walls and the tree, to create an integration of the idea of the tree in the whole common room.

On the wall hangs small shelves with different fantasy creatures, made of nature’s organic forms, colors and patterns, which are combined in new ways. These are hanging as inspiration for the children to fill up their own shelves, which are also a part of the decoration. These shelves will function as a changing display of the children’s possessions.

In the tree’s trunk, internally, is integrated a secret cabinet to open on special occasions. Internally the cabinet has lots of small shelves and contains props – a talking stick, a mask made of bark, a quilted seasonal rug and cushions – that are supposed to be a part of a game and a ritual for a smaller group of children and staff where The Tree of Wisdom get’s “time to talk”. The game and the ritual is being developed in a workshop between the artist and the staff.

The project is designated by Kunstrådet in Sønderborg to the new construction Midtbyens Naturbørnehus in Sønderborg Kommune. The project was created in collaboration with Matilde Friese and Ole Paikjær.