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01st December 2009

Ghost Forest highlights climate change

Artist Angela Palmer’s sensational project, bringing gigantic tree stumps from rainforests in Ghana to build a ‘ghost forest’ in Trafalgar Square (November 16-22), is the most recent, and arguably the most imaginative, bid at drawing attention to issues of climate change.

Spurred on to take action about deforestation and its disastrous consequences for the ecological balance of the earth by an old friend and Oxford environmental scientist, Andrew Mitchell, Palmer’s creative response has been to ‘bring a real rainforest tree into the centre of London and show what mighty beasts we are destroying every second’. She made numerous field trips to a commercially logged primary rainforest, Suhuma, in western Ghana, from where she was able to selectively log the tree stumps required for her project.

In the past 50 years Ghana has lost 90% of its virgin rainforests but is now determined to create a viable and sustainable timber industry – her choice of source for the tree stumps thus tells a story of destruction, but also of optimism in the present. As the symbolic centre of Western industrialisation, Trafalgar Square was an appropriate setting with Nelson’s Column towering over the stumps – 50 metres tall, the Column is the approximate height many of these trees would have stood and this juxtaposition poses a powerful call to imagine the threat to the rainforests.

Palmer will ship the Ghost Forest from London to Copenhagen where it will be exhibited in Thorvaldsens Plads, a magnificent city centre square, to coincide with the UN Climate Change Conference from 7-18 December where the future of rainforests will lead the agenda. Passionately believing that art can make a difference, Palmer battles ahead with her tremendous vision and life-long motto ‘What can be imagined, can be achieved’.

Find out more about the project on the Ghost Forest website .

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