Tree Art - Mark Gauti

Tree/Ent by Mark Gauti

Mark Gauti is a local artist that does beautiful Coast Salish art. I love his work and how he incorporates  traditional and modern in his images. I especially love his depiction of a tree being in "Tree/Ent".

Ents are tree creatures in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. They are tall, slow, patient creatures which live in the forest of Fangorn and exist to protect the trees.

When I go out into the rainforest I see ents everywhere. They are the elders of the forest. Towering, wrinkled, and shaped by the centuries, they are as individual and distinctive as people.

But we have a problem.

In the Lord of the Rings all the ents are male. No mention is made of female ents, although surely they do exist. Luckily I have the solution.

In the coastal rainforest the straight and strong Douglas fir ancients are the male ents. In old age these tree beings take on the classic look as in the Fangorn Forest. Their ancient limbs are held at attention and are often twisted and broke by tussles with winter gales.

Dripping with old man's beard lichen they stand rigid and determined over the ages watching from their lofty heights over the forest.

And the females? Why they are the Western red cedars of course with their gracefully drooping limbs and feathery braided needle leaves. The female ents have fine stripped reddish paper dresses that peel and flutter in the wind.

When winter comes female ents don't defy the gusts and gales like the male ents. Instead of fighting they go with the flow as they dance and sway uninhibited. They smell good too.

Old Douglas firs, especially when dripping sap on a hot summer day, smell like a cross between a musky earthiness and aftershave. Ancient Western red cedar, on the other hand, smell like the most amazing perfume.

Maybe Mark Gauti will do a companion piece to the one above depicting a female ent. Either way, I love what he did with "Tree/Ent".

The following is from Mark's "Trickster Art" Facebook page:

Mark Gauti is a Coast Salish Artist from the T’Sou-ke First Nation. T’Sou-ke Nation is a Coast Salish Tribe on the border of Coast Salish territories and Nuu-chah-nulth territories. T’Sou-ke shares art and culture with the two different tribal groups. Mark uses a wide range of mediums in his art, including: paint and canvas, glass acid etching, drum making, wood carving, photography and digital art. 
Mark worked as an environmental scientist for many years for his tribe T’Sou-ke where he was involved mapping of endangered species and gathering traditional ecological knowledge on traditional uses of native plants for food and medicine. For the past ten years mark has been involved in Coast Salish Culture with participating in drumming, language programs and Tribal Canoe Journeys, as well as researching traditional art and storytelling. Understanding that traditional First Nation’s art and storytelling was the original form of environmental education Mark starting mixing culture with more modern environmental programing with T’Sou-ke and now continues this work with other tribes.  
In Pacific Northwest Coast stories, tricksters are the ones who take on a job that no one else will, often leading to change, and Mark considers his art to be trickster art because he is an environmentalist who sees the way we are treating the earth as wrong and uses art as a form of environmental and cultural education.

Marks' website can be found here.

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