Darwin's Bicentenary Celebrated with TREE Artwork


TREE at Natural History Museum

Last year this art work was commissioned to celebrate Darwin's 200th anniversary. The winning artist, Tania Kovats, was selected to decorate the ceiling of a gallery in the Natural History Museum in London.

TREE, as it was called, would be a cross-section of an entire 200 year old oak tree, cut lengthways, including the roots, trunk and branches, and inserted into the ceiling. And now the work has been unveiled for all to enjoy its splendour.


Image of Artist's Winning Drawing

The artwork is inspired by Charles Darwin’s iconic tree of life drawing. This was the first sketch Darwin drew to try to explain his ideas of evolution. Above the drawing in his notebook he wrote ‘I think.'


Image from Natural History Museum

Made out of a 17 metre long piece of oak, it was taken from a tree that was growing at Darwin's time. Two hundred saplings were planted in its place as a living legacy. The oak planks were pieced together in the artist's studio. ‘First I had to find the right tree, fell it, map and number it as it was cut up into planks. I then had to craft the planks back into a tree,’ explains Tania Kovats.

It took six days to install the piece.

The bugs found in the tree are on display in the gallery as are the oak leaves.

The branches stretch across the gallery ceiling with the ceiling's grid-like panels forming an architectural frame for the piece. It looks like a slice through a vast living organism, taken as if to be placed on a microscope slide. It is the Museum's largest botany specimen on display.


BRANCH limited edition

A limited edition of 60 signed artworks called BRANCH has been created from the same oak tree by Tania Kovats to commemorate the project. All of the pieces were taken from one branch of the tree. Twenty of the pieces have been sent to museums in countries that Darwin visited whilst on his historic voyage on the HMS Beagle. This includes Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, French Polynesia, New Zealand, Australia, Mauritius South Africa and the UK. The other forty are for sale. Natural History Museum
More on TREE at the Natural History Museum
TREE Artwork Celebrates Darwin's 200th Anniversary
Tania Kovats Moving Meadow

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