Tree Dreams

‘In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity’ - Herman Hesse
Share on email
Share on facebook

Artist Statement:

The Tree of Life’ is an iconic motif in many of the world’s mythological, religious and philosophical traditions. These trees connect heaven, earth and the underworld. They visualize origin myths. Their boughs are laden with symbolism. In ancient Iran, two mythic trees, Mashya and Mashyane, were the ancestors of all living beings. In Mesopotamian mythology, trees could be manifestations of God. Yggdrasil, the Norse world tree, represents the physical structure of the Viking universe. Yggdrasil’s roots were eternally gnawed by subterranean monsters and the various realms of gods and humans existed on different branches. In South African folklore, Kaang, the great master and lord of all life, created an immense tree that stretched over the entire country. He dug a hole at its base that reached all the way down into the underworld where people and animals had lived until this point, releasing them to the world above ground.

‘Trees of Life’ are found throughout all art forms; ancient to contemporary, in painting, carving and embroidery. Ever since we have been telling stories to make sense of the world, we have been creating dream trees, and filling them with our hopes and fantasies.

The Tree of Life’ found its way into my imagination from my mother’s exquisite collection of Suzanis – an ancient embroidery art form from the Middle East. TheTree of Life’ is a prominent design motif in this tradition too. Their trees are decorated with flowers, birds and animals common to the the Middle Eastern World. For this exhibition, I chose to create Trees of Life’ representing South Africa and filled their branches with our uniquely beautiful flora and fauna, and our country’s children.

When I first started thinking about this exhibition a year ago, I imagined road trips all over South Africa to observe the trees particular to different regions and the creatures that made them their homes. When traveling became an impossibility, I decided that instead of painting actual trees I would paint fantasies of trees, or – Tree Dreams. Rather than accurate, botanical versions, these are images of trees as they exist in my imagination. Researching the birds and animals particular to a region has become an illustrated daydream, a longing for a time when we can adventure out again.

Maria Baumann is a watercolour artist living and working in Johannesburg. She attained a Masters Degree in Fine Art from the University of Stellenbosch.

Signed and editioned prints of the works on exhibition are available upon request.

For all inquiries, please contact Chandler House directly.

Coral Tree
R7 200,

Jacaranda Tree
R7 200,

Killarney Park Tree
R7 200

South African Children Tree
R7 200, sold

Cape Coastal Tree
R7 200, sold

An Uzbek Tress of Life Suzani
R40 000

Melamine Trays by Maria Baumann are also available from Chandler House

For all sales and inquiries,

please contact Chandler House:
(021) 424 4810


Share this exhibition with your friends

or visit us at Chandler House, 53 Church Street, Cape Town.


Monday – Friday: 10H00 – 17H00 / Saturday: 10h00 – 14h00

Share on whatsapp
Share on email
Share on facebook

Past Exhibitions at The Voorkamer Gallery


A Solo Exhibition by Ludwich Olivier


In die begin was daar niks. Die aarde bleek naas bleik.

A Calitzdorp Menagerie

A Group Exhibition by Bradley Beginsel, Hannes “Basie” Gerhardus, Jakob Wagenaar, Maxicano da Pointers, Imeldo “Melvin” Wagenaar, Nico Nieuwenhuis and Ruben Manuel.