Rini Hurkmans
public space

unrealised / The Seven Thousand Mother Tree

The Seven Thousand Mother Tree
Proposal for the City of Theran, Iran,
will not be realised.

Looking at the oldest civilizations on earth, for example from Anatolia and Mesopotamia some 7000-8000 years ago, the cradle of many different religions and cultures, we see that one of the oldest sculptures found is that of the Goddess Mother. She is worshipped as a symbol of fertility and creative power.

Various old cultures believe that the earth was born out of the body of a primeval mother, the goddess of the earth, visualized as an image of a pregnant woman. This mother figure is an important person in the transmission of culture, tradition and lessons of life to the next generation.

In the project, The Seven Thousand Mother Tree, this idea of the Goddess Mother is combined with the tree as a metaphor for life.

A tree is a very old form of life, but is also very rich in meaning. Tree of Life or Family Tree are familiar phrases. A tree is a place of shelter when the day is hot, it functions as a kind of lung for the busy city for it produces oxygen. A tree is a home for birds and other living creatures. A tree adds beauty to its surroundings, especially when it blooms. Its branches stand for the growth of life and the spreading of civilization.

For this project, a living tree in the city is selected. In the tree seven thousand symbolic banners, and pieces of colourful textile will be hung. These banners will look like a kind of 'flower' or 'blossom'. The idea is to use banners composed of many different types of textiles from many different origins as a reference to all the individual lives of all times and from all over the world.

On each banner, the child's word for mother 'Mama' will be painted in many different languages -Maman, Mama, Mutti, Mummy, Okasan, Ibu, Bu, Ma, Moesje, Muttie etc. The word 'Mama' will be painted in these different languages because of the many different people and many different cultures in the world. The words themselves will be painted on the banners in a golden, yellow colour. This colour symbolizes the energy of life, of (human) warmth and compassion.

A school could be involved in the realization of the work. School children could participate in writing, with paint on pieces of textiles, the various ways one can say 'mother' in many different languages.

The tree, with all these colourful banners, will appear like a celebration of nature, and a celebration of 'the mother' who gives birth to new life. But it is also a celebration of children with their lively voices, the new continuation of life through generations.

This project might also remind of trees in which little banners of paper are attached to the branches, hence people ask the gods for favours and help.