Details of Installation

the skeleton tree

Click on the button below to read an essay response from the artist about this work.

the skeleton tree essay


Tailor Winston




Mixed media

The following poem by Tailor Winston is included here as it directly connects to the artwork shown above. All poems across the exhibition are taken from Tailor’s collection of spoken word and written pieces from recent years of performance artworks, and are reproduced courtesy of the artist.

Birth of an infinite forest

In the walled gardens
Red apples hang from my skeleton tree
Sublime -
Crisp and ripe
But I guard my fruits well
You cannot have them… for they are mine and belong only to myself.
I keep them hidden in a cage beneath my breast
Buried between the flesh and bone, the penetrated layers of skin and all I have grown-
In my centre is where they lie.

In the walled gardens
Men come, to my temple
Some are flood water
I ground them and let them soak into my skin
Others are as dry and barren as the desert plains
So I be their oasis and nourish their thirsty bodies
I let them fertilize my soil and cultivate my fields
And together we build shrines,
Until they realize in this garden, what they dream to be a lily is indeed a scarlet rose with raw wild roots
Will not be tamed to bend, to fit into glass jars
So they dismantle my cherished body
Slowly, being torn
Limb from limb
Slowly, being picked apart
Piece by piece
Slowly, like the sorrowful flower being pulled
One. Petal. At a time
By the lost, lovelorn, lonely lover
And when I am withered and removed from myself
They penetrate my caves and excavate all the rich minerals from my earth
Until all that is left are empty hollows.

Then come those
The ones that I love best
They come to set my leaves alight
Sit and watch the fires burn with me
To make me into a living pyre -
A blazing inferno
Until my feet rest upon nothing but dust and smouldering ashes,
But with such fertile grounds comes the emergence
Of the buried seeds that have been spared
And before long I am left with a strange ripening fruit engorged beneath my skin, that fills me with life
I am once again abundant
And a new labouring begins
These seeds of renewal break from the waters
I give birth to myself again.

The last of those who came
They came by force seeking to reap my wares, when they have sown nothing
Raging with their ploughs and hoes and axes -
These men come to strip me bare
They come to hack at my leaves and tear my roots from the ground
But these roots grow deep and you cannot unearth me-
For I have caught all the raging fires from loss and love before
And when my mind and heart and spirit align,
The serpent, uncoils from my base
She holds me in her merging vine embrace
Watch as I dance my hypnotic voodoo rhythm to a twilight mood
furious footsteps dance across a sky painted red
With bellies full of fire
I unleash myself unto the world.

From that moment
My cage was broken
Not shattered to pieces, but broken open
And I saw the apples I had grown from infancy for the first time
I reached out…
and I claimed myself
I look a bite…
and I tasted myself
And you know what?
I tasted pretty. Fucking. Amazing.

I’ve eaten from the tree of knowledge
Now I see
In my walled gardens
There are no walls and there is no garden
There never was.
Only wild ample forests that reach out into infinity
Where the scarlet apples and wild roses grow free
In my forest
There is love
There is all
There is me
I am liberated.

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This installation is best viewed through our videos. You can see it within our virtual tour on the exhibition home page, or see some behind-the-scenes footage of its gallery installation below.