The Palm Tree
Samples taken in February 2017 from a cross section of the Palm tree branch resulted in some fascinating Scanning Electron Microscopic images. Hassett was specifically interested in the circular bunching of cellular tubing.
The Cordyline Palm, commonly known as the cabbage tree, is native to New Zealand. The artist was drawn to the mesmerising swaying of the flexible tree branches and the soft meditative sound created by the wind rustling through the leaves of the Cordyline Palm. Research led to Hassett to investigate Balinese Penjors (see image below), which are intricate sculptures made from curved bamboo poles and palm leaves and are used extensively during the Indonesian religious festival called Galungan.
Using the basic structure of the Penjor and a bamboo pole Hassett added fluorescent ribbon and electric blue sticky fabric to create the artwork that is installed beside the palm tree.
A key element of this artwork is the fluorescent orange drawings on the blue fabric shapes, which have been attached along the spine of the penjor. This imagery was inspired by microscopic photographs of the parallel veins of the palm as they are laid out in bundles and are arranged together to create the internal cellular structure of the branch.
As is the tradition in Bali a decorative Sampian, a hanging feature, has been hung from the end of the Penjor artwork. It’s shape and form echo the oval shaped breathing holes (called soma) that lie in linear formations on the underside of the palm leaves. See below imagery of breathing holes on the surface of the bark of the Palm tree. Also included in this slide show are the image results from a second sampling programme of the underneath of the palm leaves by Clodagh Dooley.
Finally to follow are some images taken of the Palm tree artwork installed in Trinity College Dublin.