A Portrait of the Tree by Adrian Houston
5 August 2018
A collection of works from AOP Member Adrian Houston will be on show at The New Unit Gallery based in Hanover Square, London from 17-28 September. The exhibition 'A Portrait of the Tree' will feature photographs and stories shared by over 30 people from a huge array of backgrounds, from the arts and sport through to philanthropy.
Adrian's increasing concern that so many of our indigenous trees are being affected by disease and global warming, he decided to embark on an ambitious project that would give trees a voice. It was in October 2013 that Adrian first began questioning people about their favourite tree. The members of this group are as diverse as they are influential, from Richard Branson, actress Goldie Hawn and Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason to Tony Kirkham, Head of Arboretum at Kew Gardens, designer Jasper Conran and Chairman of Condé Nast Britain Nicholas Coleridge.
©Adrian Houston - Richard Branson Grandidier's Baobab Alley, Madagascar.
Along the way Adrian heard many fascinating stories. Lord Tollemache, former Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, told of the ancient oak in whose hollow trunk Queen Elizabeth II used to shelter during the annual shoot on his estate. Designer Jasper Conran talked about the beech tree outside his bedroom window; the first and last thing he sees each day. Perhaps most poignant of all is the Cedar of Lebanon, part of the proud history and landscape of the grounds of Le Manoir aux Quat Saison, owned by legendary chef Raymond Blanc. Sadly, this magnificent tree was diseased and had to be cut down. Adrian’s art will now ensure it is captured for posterity.
©Adrian Houston - Jori White, New Forest Oaks.
Tales exchanged, Adrian then traveled throughout the UK, and further afield to Namibia, Madagascar, Ibiza, France and America, to photograph the trees in question.
It is planned that A Portrait of the Tree will be styled and dressed to make the entire experience immersive, interactive, joyful, educational and exciting. The doorway will lead visitors through an ancient oak into an immersive world of trees and woodland soundscapes.
©Adrian Houston - Stuart Simpson, Cedar Fordell Castle.
A percentage of all sales will go to two leading charities: Future Trees Trust, a national charity dedicated to improving disease resilience, growth rate, form and adaptability to climate change of broadleaved trees, and Trees for Cities, responsible for planting over 700,000 urban trees in parks, streets, schools and housing estates across the world, revitalising these areas and improving the lives of the people who live in them.
Working with Trees for Cities, the exhibition will also run parallel with an educational programme aimed at raising social awareness about the importance of our trees, the environment and climate change. Children from over 25 London-wide primary and secondary schools will be invited to tour the exhibition. A photographic competition will also invite 8-16-year olds from these same schools to submit photographs of their own favourite trees. The best three images - and stories - will feature in A Portrait of the Tree.