Finsbury Park Tree of Life
2020, Finsbury Park Tube Entrance, Wells Terrace, Finsbury Park, London, United Kingdom
Carrie Reichardt, Karen Francesca and Atm Streetart
Chiswick, United Kingdom
580 x 280 x 0.8 centimeters
ceramic tiles, re-fired with digital, vintage and screen-printed ceramic decals, and gold glass tiles. Ceramic stoneware stars made by the community.
The Elm Tree of Life, Finsbury Park Station, is a social and environmental statement. The content for this work developed from a year of consultation and workshops within the community. Here, we explored and considered ordinary lives, chronicling individual testaments, as well as opening local archives. Basic human need is highlighted alongside the need for meaningful culture; through music, sport, literature and spirituality. By bringing together marginalized groups and meeting with those who do the important work of supporting and advocating, we aim to raise the level of empathy in public space.
Included in this rich tapestry are braille ceramics, groups artworks and handmade ceramic stars. The act of making and expressing is healing. This work is at once a celebration of our lives and history, what’s important to us, and a memorial to what is being lost. It is also a resistance to the well established canon of a public art that is abstract and elite. The central feature of the mosaic is an Elm Tree, selected due to a long tradition, dating back as far as 1350 when seven sisters (hence the name Seven Sisters) planted a circle of elms with a hornbeam at the center. The elm tree was chosen as a symbol because seven sisters planted a circle of elms in Finsbury Park in the 1500s and this ritual has been repeated over the centuries. Our tree shows the names of some of the hundreds of species that rely on an Elm, the invertebrates, birds, lichens and mosses that create the ecosystem that is a mature tree. It’s about the importance of biodiversity and richness in our environment, to maintain health for all.