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My Personal Aesthetic on Trees

My Personal Aesthetic on Trees

By Maxine Syjuco

  • 1 of 12 from Veils
  • 2 of 12 from Veils
  • A Post Traumatic
  • Blank
  • Medusa
  • Tabi Tabi Po
  • The Tree Voices

Of all the elements that comprise the entirety of nature, the closest to being human is not an animal, but a tree. A tree, though faceless, takes heart in its roots. A tree, though in absentia from moral, ethical, and spiritual confines, embraces its soul in the pulsation of gravity.

No matter how old, fragile, or seemingly dead and disfigured, a tree remains standing. It is immortal in its very mortality. It breathes life into breath, speaks volumes in its contemplative invitations, and it shelters, warms, and nurtures—even in the very solace of solitude—the ethereal branching and blooming of the tireless human spirit.

Trees hunger for nothing material—they need no journals, no bed to sleep on, no lover to sleep with, no book in the lover’s hand to tuck away under her pillow, and no photographs or artwork to hang on walls. But journals, beds, lovers, books, photographs, and artwork? They each need trees, not only to fulfill man’s needs, but perhaps, even more importantly, to inspire.

I, for one, often turn to trees for answers to the unknown. There is an overwhelming abundance of invisible yet invincible wisdom in the silent solemnity of trees that fills me with the most fervent fortitude to move forward and create.

As an artist, I am often asked to define the meaning of art. My answer is simple: art is the voice of the heart. The language through which it is most truthfully spoken is the art of poetry. As such, much (if not all) of my artwork—much like the quiet mystique of trees—is deeply rooted in the heart of poetry. My creations are direct reflections of what lies within me. I see myself not merely as a vessel of personal expression but, more specifically, as a storyteller—one who, when choked by the lack of cutthroat and brutally honest words, turns to visual art as a tangible transmitter for the many voices of my heart.

Each of the images presented here is a visual narrative. Each piece is a portal to the infinite vastness of possibilities that betray the human need to separate black from white. For me, working as a multi-media artist entails digging my hands into any medium that I may chance upon. From photographs to sculpture, installations to paintings, my art seeks to reveal stories of poetic romance—each one tinged with hidden stories offered to the viewers as metaphorical tales of what makes us human.

The purpose of my art, therefore, is to bear roots to trees of meaning, and to watch them grow from trunks to branches to leaves, and finally to see them sprout fruits of wisdom for every viewer’s unique and personal imagination.

To put it simply, the dream behind my artwork is best awakened by the act of perceiving each image as a veiled bride standing underneath a tree.

Now you, the viewer, are both the groom and the tree—a guardian, shelter, and a pillar of strength.

As the wind blows, watch the veil rise.

What do you see? Who do you see? How do you see?

Dig deep into the bed of soil that shelters the voices of your rooted heart.


Don’t look.

Just listen.


Maxine Syjuco

Maxine Syjuco is a poet and visual artist. Her works combine elements such as photography, painting, installations, electrified mixed-media constructions, and sound-art with her own poems. Her artwork has been represented in the 2010 and 2012 Visayas Art Biennales, as well as in the 26th Asian International Art Exhibition in the Hangaram Art Museum of Seoul, Korea.  Her works, both exhibitions and performances, have taken place in venues as varied as the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the Metropolitan Museum, the Lopez Museum, the Yuchengco Museum, Museo Sugbu (Museum of Cebu), art galleries, universities, libraries, and even public streets and parks. Her first book of poetry is A Secret Life, and her poems have been translated into Polish and French.

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