Kasia Ozga – Arbor Vitae

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Arbor Vitae

Arbor Vitae is a publicly accessible sculpture influenced by Tony Cragg’s George and the Dragon (1984), re-uses locally sourced industrial materials to address a theme that is important to local culture; man’s relationship to nature.

It’s made by assembling together differently-sized pipes, used in electricity, sewers, and construction. These “man-made” materials may seem completely different from the “natural” wood found in the many trees in Nebraska City, but in fact, both materials have been manipulated by humans to respond to our needs.

The sculpture is located on the site of a former row of crab apple trees that were destroyed due to blight. Materials were donated by Crown-Line Plastics, which also supported project production by lending a work-space to the artist, over the course of the month. The work is temporarily “planted” in the ground using sand and gravity.

Tree-planting is a vital part of Nebraska City’s Identity, and Arbor Day (which began in the town) remains an important event for the economy and tourism industries. Nevertheless, not all trees in the local environment are maintained and cared-for in all circumstances. In one instance, apples from out-of-state were cheaply imported for the local historic AppleJack Harvest Festival.

Local fruits were left to rot, despite being ripe and ready-to eat, because the Arbor Day Farm was unwilling to pay the more expensive labor costs to pick the fruit, locally. By making a tree from plastic as a humorous temporary monument, I raise subtle questions about why and how trees create connections between those who plant them, and the existing environment.

Find Kasia here: www.kasiaozga.com

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