My Tree, Your Forest

Photos by: Clémence Bélénus

Following on from the Around Trees project, we continued our collaboration with the Léon Blum secondary school in Villiers-le-Bel and the visual artists Vladimir Kara and Masha Schmidt to propose a new artistic programme to the Year 7 and 8 students, as part of the Cité Éducative.

The aim was to introduce the students to a range of artistic practices to help them discover the unique character of each tree, and at the same time to understand and feel their relationship with the forest as a whole. There is only one step from nature to society. We cannot discover every human being in a crowd. And it’s by spending time with each person that we can feel a real sense of empathy towards the community.

Through 5 encounters from January to June 2024, Masha Schmidt proposed the design of a mural fresco using gouache on kraft paper, representing the forest, allowing the students to discover monumental painting. The students then painted their own unique tree on large sheets of rigid transparent plastic. The series of workshops concluded with a talk to each class about forests, engaging the students in a dialogue about the emotions they experienced during walks in the forest.

Vladimir Kara, for his part, proposed an artistic investigation of the unique tree of each of the students by producing sketches and paintings.

The paintings, plastic sheets and fresco were combined to create a final installation open to the public, which was inaugurated on 13 June 2024, giving the impression of a deep, luminous forest.