A passion for trees

BRITISH artist Jyll Bradley and her collaborator, the radio producer Jonquil Panting, have been in town for the last two weeks and they can hardly believe the weather. 

“Give or take a degree or two,” said Panting, who is also  head of the BBC’s drama production program, “this is high summer for me.”

Bradley and Panting visited Westbourne Woods in Yarralumla today as they finalised recordings for the Centenary of Canberra“City of Trees” project that will explore the human narratives emerging through Canberra’s tree-scapes.

Creative director of the Centenary, Robyn Archer, said she planned that the Centenary should be created almost exclusively by Australian artists, scientists, thinkers.

“I knew that sport would include internationals, as would conferences, summits, fora and some exhibitions, but there was just one — and that was Jyll,” she says.

Bradley and Panting are near the end of the project and have been recording the stories of Canberrans for whom trees are “a passion, profession or both.”

Westbourne Woods is one of the earliest Arboreta in the ACT and the artist will produce a sound recording that people can listen to when they walk through the historic woods.

“I have met with hundreds of people throughout the course of this project and the enthusiasm that everyone has displayed has certainly aided my work,” Bradley said, adding, “The City of Trees will be a timely reflection upon Canberra’s 100 years through an exploration of the ‘Bush Capital’s’ tree-scapes; the hidden stories and the hopes of the people who planted them, and those who nurture them today.”

While here, Bradley has also toured the National Arboretum Canberra, the Australian National Botanic  Gardens, Bendora and Pryor Arboreta, and has based herself at the National Library of Australia.

And no, though they heard the sound-check for Elton John’s concert last night and wondered what it was, they won’t be able to stay long enough to hear “Voices in the Forest” at the Arboretum next week.

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