The Big Druid’s photographs of trees: Art and knowledge


  • Suzanne de Villiers-Human


Art, science, knowledge, wisdom, image atlas, photographs of trees


This article argues that the world-renowned multi-media artist, Willem Boshoff’s, digital image gallery of photographs of trees, flowers and plants on the digital domain of the internet and in his digital archive, forms part of a history of efforts by modern artists to dismantle and stage the reductive divisions between the arts and the natural sciences. By emphasising their agency to richly interweave layers of cultural meaning and ideological questioning, while producing cascades of other images, the objective is to situate the botanical photographs in Boshoff’s digital “image gallery” in an expanded history of imaging, and to explore the layered perspectives that this positioning may entail and divulge. The interpretation includes comparative visual material from atlases and other image galleries, landscape art and land art, photographic and cinematic images, diagrams and scientific “illustrations”, Druid Walks and performances, and so forth. The interpretation ventures to fathom the aesthetic, artistic and cultural significance of this body of photographs, as well as their power to ignite debates on the relationship between art, science, knowledge, wisdom, politics and culture.