VisAbility clients at the Community Activity Centre spent months working on the ‘Tree of Life’, an intricate mosaic sculpture. Incorporating very small tiles, it was entered into the Darlington Arts Festival where Graeme Murray, an oil scientist, decided to buy it.
The 59-year-old lives with his partner Michael and numerous cats, dogs, parrots, bandicoots, lizards and frogs. It’s been installed in the patio area to the rear of his property in Darlington. Graeme wanted to explain the story behind its purchase.
Captivating piece of artwork
We live in the area and when we arrived at the Darlington Arts Festival, we parked our car and looked up. Directly in front of us was a large piece of artwork which caught our attention.
It’s a cliche but we were in awe of the ‘Tree of Life’. Initially we didn’t realise that the sculptures, temporarily installed along the old railway track, were for sale because we were too busy inspecting the art. Then we saw price stickers on other sculptures and went back to the ‘Tree of Life’ to discover whether it was still available. Imagine our joy to learn it hadn’t been sold – it felt as though Christmas had arrived early.
After confirming our intention, the curator told us more about VisAbility, and the people who’d crafted the sculpture. I was keen to learn about its story as this always fascinates me. I bowl with someone who has limited sight and Michael and I both support people with disabilities.
He’s an amateur mosaic artist and has created mosaics on and off for years. I set the line art images up for him so he can create them. We are both supporters of ceramic and glass arts in general and already have a number of works from DAADA artists. DAADA is an organisation offering access to arts and culture for people with disability.
The ‘Tree of Life’ admired in its new setting
I like to tell people the stories behind the artefacts, as it can start a natural conversation about disability rather than it sounding like a lecture.
The sculpture now has a prominent position under our back patio, away from any bad weather. A few small flowers have come off, but they are very easy to re-attach.
The ‘Tree of Life’ is a piece of artwork which demands your attention. You need to stand still so you can absorb its intricacy. It deserves more than a few glances as you cannot follow the lines of the mosaic tiles. It’s installed close to where we sit for coffee so is very much part of our daily lives.
VisAbility is pleased the sculpture has a new home and is admired by its new owner.
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