An eco-art project is the link to a tree planting initiative in Auroville and Slovenia. Olympia Shilpa Gerald has the details

Money, they say, does not grow on trees. Neither do diamonds, rubies or even imitation stones. But what if you could pluck your jewellery out of a tree that changes colours not just with the seasons, but everyday? And what if by doing so, you could plant and nurture a tree in the far-away frost ravaged forests of Slovenia or closer home at Auroville?

Miranda Rubina, author, multimedia artist and one of the founders of the Kerubin, (which has an art centre in Auroville) knows how to make the connection. The artist’s eco-art project, ‘The Magic Tree’, hopes to be part of the solution to an environmental problem in her Central European country, Slovenia, where an estimated 40 per cent of forest land was destroyed by frost, earlier this year.

Nine-inch metaphor

Designed as a minimalist jewellery stand, ‘The Magic Tree’ marries smart and creative storage with an environmental cause that spans three nations. Conceived by Miranda, the nine-inch laser-cut plexiglass jewellery stand has seemingly waving branches that creatively store and display rings, bracelets, earrings and necklaces. It lives up to its ‘magical’ term as the plexiglass changes shades from hot orange to soft pink and mellow yellow whenever a sunbeam or artificial light plays on the stand. The transparent one casts shadows while the black one seems to do a dance of its own in powerful light.

The eco-art project designed around the jewellery stand is a crowd sourcing initiative that aims to raise $5,500 by April 22 on Kickstarter. If the project is successfully funded, trees will be planted in Auroville, Puducherry and Chennai, apart from Slovenia. The number of trees planted will equal the number of plexiglass ones given as rewards to the supporters of the project. “After cyclone Thane, we planted and maintained 23 papaya trees as well as jackfruit, mango and other trees in the orchard at Kerubin Art Center,” says Miranda. Monica Ukmar, project coordinator, will work with volunteers and kids from the Free Progress School, Auroville to plant the trees.

Joining other groups

Meanwhile, in Slovenia, the artist will join environmental groups such as Ecologists Without Borders to plant trees all over Slovenia. The money raised will be used to manufacture plexiglass trees and create art installations themed on larger-sized versions of the Magic Tree for building momentum for the tree planting programmes in Slovenia. The President of Slovenia Borut Pahor extended support to an art installation that was part of the eco-project, a few days ago. The project has received initial backing in three countries — the U.S., India and Slovenia — where the presentations were made.

Designed in four shades — transparent, glittering black, translucent pink-orange and green — the artists at Kerubin will encourage putting the tree to aesthetic use in art installations, as home or office décor and creative videos.

The creative moments captured by the supporters of the project will be collated as virtual galleries on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. For details, visit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/410902082/themagicaltree.

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