ABSTRACT

The author presents her encounters with venerated and Sacred Trees on field trips to India to affirmatively answer the question: Is it possible for the artist to change how we perceive the environment to the extent that people change the way they respond to and inhabit it? She argues that how we perceive and contemplate the land affects how we treat the land, and ultimately how we live within it. The paper goes beyond the economic or conservationist perspective, setting out the religious context with which the tree is perceived aesthetically in its natural environment. The practice of venerating the tree through decoration has, over time, effected cultural change in India. The tree is seen as a form that houses the sacred and thus is protected.

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