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The Danger Tree,

Greenwich, London 2016

 

Four years ago, Scarlett Raven’s father, Raphael, made a pilgrimage to France to pay his respects to the fallen of The Somme.

He visited The Danger Tree, a commemorative gathering point which marked the spot where, in 1916, troops from The Newfoundlanders -- part of the 29th British Division – gathered for shelter on the opening day of the battle of The Somme . The tree became an easy target for German artillery and marked the spot where many of the Newfoundlanders would lose their lives that day.

Raphael returned home with a simple memento: soil from the ground where The Danger Tree had once stood. Scarlett’s father’s reverence made a lasting impression on her and she immersed herself in the history and poetry of the time. When Raphael died, Scarlett made her own pilgrimage to The Danger Tree.

“I felt an enormous loss. I also felt a huge connection, through my father, with that part of history. That became the catalyst for The Danger Tree exhibition. I wanted to draw attention to the humanity behind the horror. It is my interpretation of a devastating, yet also touching, part of human history.”

The exhibition features ten oil on canvas paintings, each of which triggers augmented reality layers of hidden reference beneath the surface of the painting. These integrated elements include photographs, audio recordings, text, animated graphics, archive film, music and sound effects.

Alongside the AR, beneath the surface of each painting sits a very physical embodiment of that era. “I used the soil my father brought back, mixing it into my paint. It became an integral medium in each of the paintings in The Danger Tree. A true enshrinement.”