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Tree Story

6 February – 10 April 2021

Charlotte Day with Dr Brian Martin, Associate Dean, Indigenous, Monash Art Design & Architecture


Brook Garru Andrew (AU), Yto Barrada (FR/MA), Berdaguer & Péjus (FR), Joseph Beuys (DE), Tania Bruguera (CU), Hayley Panangka Coulthard (AU), Nici Cumpston (AU), Agnes Denes (HU/US), Yanni Florence (AU), Ceal Floyer (UK), Nicole Foreshew (AU), Henrik Håkansson (SE/DE), Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti (PS/IT), Beth Mbitjana Inkamala (AU), Judith Pungarta Inkamala (AU), Tim Johnson (AU), Reena Saini Kallat (IN), Peter Kennedy (AU), Olga Kisseleva (RU/FR), Janet Laurence (AU), MAIX Reserved Forest (MY), Brian Martin (AU), Kent Morris (AU), Peter Mungkuri OAM (AU), Optronic Kinetics (AU), Uriel Orlow (CH/UK), Jill Orr (AU), Katie Paterson (UK), Ed Ruscha (US), Yasmin Smith (AU), Daniel Steegmann Mangrané (BR/ES), Stelarc (AU) and Linda Tegg (AU)

Tree Story was conceived as a ‘forest of ideas’, bringing together artists’ projects from around the world to connect to critical environmental issues. At the foundation—or roots—of Tree Story were Indigenous ways of knowing and a recognition of trees as our ancestors.

Taking the expanded form of an exhibition, publication and podcast, and including a tree school, Tree Story shared stories about trees, including what they have witnessed. There was a particular focus on what we can learn from trees and from Country: about networks of cooperation, alternate pedagogical frameworks, long-term thinking and living sustainably. Works by pioneering environmental artists were recognised as well as contemporary actions and interventions to protect trees, forests and the greater environment.

Tree Story began by recognising the importance of trees and how intimately connected we are to them and them to us. It highlighted how our relationship with trees acts as a gauge of our wider relationality to the world around us: a relationship that requires the most careful tending.

Image: Nici Cumpston, Great-grandmother Barka 2020, Adelaide, Kaurna Country, pigment inkjet print, 80 x 80 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Michael Reid Gallery

Tree Story


Related Programs
VIDEO: Tree Story, 2021

Join artists Kent Morris, Yasmin Smith, Dr Brian Martin, and Charlotte Day (Director, MUMA) in an exhibition walkthrough of Tree Story at MUMA.

VIDEO: Extended Interview, Brian Martin, Tree Story

Join artist Brian Martin in exploring his works, Methexical Countryscape: Kamilaroi #10 2017 and Methexical Countryscape: Boon Wurrung #1 2021, as part of Tree Story.

VIDEO: Extended Interview, Yasmin Smith, Tree Story

Join artist Yasmin Smith in exploring her work, Lower Pieman, 2019–20, as part of Tree Story.

VIDEO: Extended Interview, Kent Morris, Tree Story

Join artist Kent Morris in exploring his work Cultural Reflections—Systems of Sustainability #1 2020, as part of Tree Story.

VIDEO: Boon Wurrung Tree, 2021

During March 2021, the Boon Wurrung Tree starts its journey on campus as the centre piece of a Tree School being held in conjunction with the exhibition Tree Story at MUMA.
PDF: The Tree School Program

View and download The Tree School program

Installation Views
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New commissions were generously supported by MUMA contemporaries. The Tree School was developed and coordinated by Moorina Bonini with Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti, supported by Monash Art Design & Architecture (MADA) and the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth). Our thanks to Eucalypt Australia for partnering with us on the Tree Telling podcast and The Tree School.

MUMA worked with environmental organisation Greenfleet to offset production and freight costs associated with the Tree Story exhibition through the planting of native forests in Australia.

Tree Story logos