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“The year I became a tree”

My exhibition consists of four drawings and a poem, whose title “The Year I Became a Tree” is also the exhibition title. The works are autobiographical in nature, revolving around the metaphor of plant-life. As I describe in the poem, when I got my burnout, it felt like becoming a tree: no more movement, no more voice, something long stored away bursting out and overgrowing me.

Two drawings are self-portraits, while the other two include other figures besides me. Both of these are direct quotations from art history: Da Vinci’s angel from Vergine delle rocce towers over me in the largest piece, while the other drawing shows a scene from Botticelli’s Primavera, in which the wind god Zephyrus chases the nymph Chloris in order to make her his. When she screamed, from her mouth only came flowers.

Like Chloris, and her more famous counterpart Daphne, I turned into a tree because I became exhausted of dancing the dance with looks and gazes and touches, with the words and the histories of how a woman’s body should or shouldn’t be. My images and poetry are feminist in nature, but they are mostly about the autobiographical space of exhaustion that comes with holding that disposition in our world. In the art we celebrate. In our school.

My feminism, it seems, became anger, which became exhaustion, which became puking up leaves instead of words, but those leaves were also new roots for me to ground through. Connected in my disconnection, to both my own body and those girls that turned into trees before me. This is the particular feeling I sought to capture.