Artistic exhibition highlights rights of trees in Cork

An audit of Cork’s trees by Ms Young in 2020 found that many are “under serious threat due to property developers and, ironically, by greenway planners”.
Artistic exhibition highlights rights of trees in Cork

Dancers from New Moon Dance company expressing the loss of trees through movement. Dancers Belle English and Fleur Carton, Photo Tina Horan

Dancers, artists, and filmmakers are putting on a special exhibition and performance in the Crawford College of Art and Design on Grand Parade today, to highlight the essential rights of trees in Cork city.

The Creativity & Change programme at MTU and New Moon Dance Company have teamed up with Maria Young of Green Spaces for Health in Cork’s South parish to raise awareness about protecting trees amidst ongoing development in the city.

An audit of Cork’s trees by Ms Young in 2020 found that many are “under serious threat due to property developers and, ironically, by greenway planners”.

Ms Young decided that a creative response may have greater impact than just presenting facts, as it “taps into something deep within us: The desire to admire the quiet beauty of trees and the need to protect that which is alive”.

Over 80 people have participated in creative workshops to explore the need to protect our trees, which has led to the development of a film, dance, and art exhibition that brings to life ideas about the rights of trees.

Part funded by the support of Irish Aid, the exhibition will explore the concept of rights for not just humans, or animals, but other non-animal living beings such as trees.

Countries such as New Zealand, India, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Panama have already given “rights of personhood” to elements of nature.

“The essence of the work is to raise awareness regarding how important nature is,” said company choreographer of New Moon Dance Company, Tina Horan.

“Without trees, without this beautiful heavenly earth, seas and skies, and forests, there would be no us,” she added.

All three components of the project are being showcased today at the Crawford College of Art and Design, on Grand Parade. The film and exhibition can be viewed in the gallery space from 10am-5pm, while the 20-minute dance performance will take place at 4.30pm.

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