Jean Shin, "FALLEN"

Hi, I’m artist Jean Shin, and this is my work FALLEN, on the main lawn of Olana. I think of this monumental hemlock as a gift from the artist Frederic Church. With the tree’s passing, the fallen hemlock has revealed an urgent message from the past, warning us of the horrific environmental loss caused by man and industry. I was so struck that this desire for leather goods led to vast deforestation in the Catskills. As an act of healing, I created a custom-fit protective layer for the tree’s trunk, made out of leftover cuts of leather from the fashion industry. In mourning this single dead tree, and remembering all that we have lost, what will we do to repair, restore the harm that we have done to nature, and to ourselves? How do we preserve the hemlock’s important role in sustaining the biodiversity in the ecosystem? I can think of no greater gift to future generations than ancient hemlock groves thriving in a forest.