Family Tree

Family Tree – Ink on Paper – Tish Linehan – Artist’s Statement

Family Tree is a response to the Lourdes Hill College theme for 2023 ‘Cherish Creation’, which itself is a reflection on Pope Francis’ encyclical letter: Laudato Si, on the care for our common home: planet Earth.

Pope Francis’ letter was penned in 2015 and is a plea for unified global action on the issue of climate change and environmental degradation. Undogmatic in its tone, the letter calls for action and dialogue in an effort to address contemporary practices of over-consumption and environmental indifference. He states that, while the post-industrial era may have been one of devastating environmental impact, he hopes "… that humanity at the dawn of the twenty-first century will be remembered for having generously shouldered its grave responsibilities.”

The title: ‘Family Tree’, comes from the statement of Pope Francis, that all of creation is a "kind of universal family". The artist of Family Tree, College Art tutor Tish Linehan, shares the belief in the interconnected nature of the Earth and all creation as a complex system that should be respected as a family; co-dependant, harmonious and deserving of respect.

In Family Tree, elements of the natural environment combine and overlap, illustrating the multidimensional nature of Mother Nature and our varied, short experiences within our world, which happen differently, simultaneously or at different times. As humans, we experience but a heartbeat in Earth’s lifespan and but a narrow line of lived experience along our human path of existence. The work seeks to reflect some of the life-giving experiences that are possible as people in the natural world.

The artist captures the human being as part of a whole in the artwork. There is no human dominion over the natural environment, rather, these figures partake in, listen to, and exist within a system and environment of incredible beauty.

Family Tree includes hidden features that can be discovered with close inspection by each student, as a way of engaging with the artwork’s intrinsic themes of interconnection and coexistence. It is a work that encourages passive participation and reflection on the value of our natural world and our human, contemporary responsibility to protect the invaluable beauty of our common home: Earth.

Tish Linehan