Louise McRae, Kodama, The Spirit of a tree, 2022
0.7mm thick beaten and riveted brass sheet, marine grade sealant, webbing
As in many of Aotearoa’s northern coastal areas, in early summer, the lush green of Waiheke’s vegetation becomes inflamed by the crimson flowers of the pōhutukawa tree. Louise McRae offers a homage to the tree with Kodama, The spirit of a tree. In Japanese folklore, Kodama are tree spirits that dwell in forests. They inhabit the oldest trees, and their presence is recognised by many as a sign of an ecosystem’s health. Emerging scientific studies on the interconnection of tree root systems and fungal networks, and this as the basis of soil health, provide an analogue to this ancient knowledge and further reason to value these elders of the natural world.
“It thrives where others cannot,” the artist says, “It stands with its roots in rock, facing all the Pacific can throw at it. I pay homage through this work and hope to lure others, to stop, to see, to celebrate this tree.”