Edinburgh Arts Festival

Tree no. 5 (from the Jadindagadendar), Waverley Station.

Charles Avery’s The Islanders is an evolving lifelong project, dedicated to describing the inhabitants, flora and fauna of a fictional island. In a constantly growing body of work (drawing, sculpture and film), Avery explores and records in precise detail the customs, myths, religions and rituals of the islanders. At the heart of the island is Onomatopoiea, once a bustling port and boomtown, now in a state of extended decline. Onomatopoeia’s municipal park is called the Jadindagadendar, and is filled, not with living botanical specimens, but with artificial trees, flowers and shrubs, an expression of the islanders’ refutation of nature.

For the Improbable City, Avery will realize a tree from the Jadindagadendar. Over five metres tall and ripe with strange fruit, it is cast in bronze, and draws entirely on mathematical equations (including the square root of 2 as well as the Fibonacci sequence) for its design. Part plant, part sculpture, part temple, Avery’s tree sits within our world and outside it, offering a meeting point, or a place for momentary escape and contemplation.

Avery views these objects almost as souvenirs or specimens, brought back to our world by a visitor to the Island. Situated in Waverley Station – the only station in the world to be called after a novel (Sir Walter Scott’s Waverley) – Avery’s tree finds a suitably fictional home.

With additional support from Baillie Gifford Investment Managers and Edinburgh World Heritage

Commissioned by Edinburgh Art Festival and Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art.

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