The Leaves of the Tree for the Healing of the Nations
A crowd-sourced exhibition on the impact of COVID-19
The Leaves of the Tree for the Healing of the Nations is an installation we are creating together and sharing online. We are inviting everyone to participate by submitting a line or two (max. 250 characters) about their experience of the coronavirus pandemic. These lines will be copied onto facemasks (taken from sub-standard, unusable stock) and hung on an otherwise bare tree installed in Bethlem’s historic Boardroom. Until the Museum can re-open to in-person visits, we will give our social media followers regular film updates about the development of the installation. The result will be a long-lasting record of the impact of the pandemic.Submit your message
Why take part?
COVID-19 has dominated all of our lives for the past year. Many lives have been lost or permanently affected. The toll it has taken in both physical and mental health terms is yet to be tallied. The Leaves of the Tree for the Healing of the Nations is an opportunity for friends of Bethlem Museum of the Mind, staff and service users of South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, and anyone else who wishes to respond, to share their experience. The bare tree on which the masks hang represents the bleak context of COVID-19, or the frailty of human life itself, while the snippets of story on the hanging masks stand witness to what has happened, and are like the first buds of spring on a flowering tree.
How do I take part?
Complete the form with your experiences of the pandemic, then follow the Museum’s social media to keep updated on the installation.
What should I write?
Up to 250 characters about any aspect of how your life, or the lives of others known to you, has changed as a result of the pandemic, and the associated lockdowns. Tell your story.
What was the inspiration for the installation?
For some months we have been thinking about how to involve our audiences in the production of a lasting record of the impact of COVID-19. Then we saw details of the Pandemic Tree installation at Museum Ovartaci in Denmark, and with their permission we decided to bring the idea to Bethlem.
‘The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations’ is a New Testament quotation, and the title of a stained glass window in a church in Belfast constructed by the one-time Maudsley Hospital patient, Wilhelmina Geddes (1887-1955). Careful attention to the stories of COVID-19 may prove to be a first and necessary step in moving beyond the present crisis.