From the biblical description of Eden in the Book of Genesis to the final chapter of Revelation, the tree of life acts as the great inclusio of the Christian story, rooting all that comes in between. At the centre of the narrative is a tree of death that becomes the tree of life for those who believe in Christ’s substitution on the cross. This tree is the very symbol of Christianity.
My series Hierotopia maps out a new geography as we explore how the invisible world is manifested in the visible, tracing echoes of Eden in the landscape.
In the last 100 years, 90 per cent of Ethiopia’s forests have been lost. The country is one of the fastest expanding economies in the world, with an average growth of 10 per cent per year over the last decade. The population will double in 30 years, making it the second most populous country in Africa where the vast majority of people live in rural areas, mounting further pressure on the natural resources. The expansion of land use for agriculture is a creeping and almost imperceptible process that accompanies population growth. The last native forests surround church buildings.
Hierotopia: The Living, Sacred Landscape ran at the Ahmanson Gallery, Irvine, CA from September 2018 to March 2019.