When we think about Broadmead, the bustling shopping centre at the heart of Bristol, we don’t think ‘Woodland escape’. If anything, ‘Concrete jungle’ feels like a more apt description. But that might be about to change this August as an immersive tree-inspired art installation, Overstory, will grow throughout Bristol’s high streets.
The art installation has been inspired by local trees in the area and created by contemporary artists Ivan Morison and Heather Peak. It will temporarily transform Broadmead by hanging over the heads of shoppers as they wander the city centre. The free to attend artwork aims to encourage discussion around the importance of trees in our lives. Particularly their necessity across the city.
The project aligns with Bristol’s One City Plan to increase tree canopy in the city by 25% by 2035 and double the number of trees by 2050. Some of Bristol’s least affluent areas will be prioritised for tree planting over the coming years. Overstory will educate those visiting about the benefits of trees for both people and wildlife, and how they transform our lives.
The work of Heather and Ivan often tackle themes of activism and nature and this project is no different. There will be a programme of free art and nature-focused activities in the area to coincide with installation. This will include a range of environmental organisations sharing ideas on how to create, protect and explore woodlands and forests in the region.
Overstory is being brought to the streets of Bristol by The Natural History Consortium, the charity behind the city’s Festival of Nature in June, and is being funded by Bristol City Council and the West of England Combined Authority’s Love Our High Streets project. The project hopes to help with the recovery of the city centre by enticing people to visit and stay in the area.
Overstory will take root in Broadmead from August 19 – 30. Further details about the art installation and the free programme of events will be released closer to the launch.