Week 3 ‘The king has donkeys ears’ sang the willow tree – an Irish Story

week 3 Willows on Xiaojie qiao , oil on canvas 120 x 100cm 倪芙瑞莲Niamh Cunningham 2012

Week 3 – The king has donkey’s ears

One day , the kings messenger called at the home of a widow.

“ The King has a special job for your son ,  he must come to see the king tomorrow” she was told.

The woman was very worried. Once a year the king summoned a barber to cut his hair. But no barber ever returned after his visit to the king. The widow’s son was a barber.

No one knew that the king had a terrible secret. He had very strange ears which actually  looked like ears of a donkey.  To hide them he needed to have a special haircut . Every barber who cut the king’s hair had been put to death immediately so that he could never reveal the kings terrible secret.

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Week 2 – Why Trees Whisper – a children’s story

Memory Palace of Trees is an ecological art practice which invites your participating to tell a story (or give some kind of information) about Trees. It is a social enquiry of how to live better with the planet and with people. You are cordially invited to tell me your story of a tree or trees. (email : niamh@niamhcunningham.com) I would love to hear from you .

Week 2 -They will not hush “它们不肯安静,叶子在我身边飞舞” 160x 110 cm
Niamh Cunningham 倪芙瑞莲 2015

Why Trees Whisper – An Estonian Legend
Retold by Anne Pellowski

Why Trees Whisper

Estonian Legend
Retold by Anne Pellowski

In the early days of earth, not long after the trees were created and humans were forced to leave Paradise to work, a man went out to the forest to cut wood. The first tree he came to was a pine tree. But as soon as the man lifted the axe he heard a voice cry out.

“Don’t strike me. Can’t you see the sticky tears that are already coming out of my body? If you hit me it will bring you bad luck.”

The man did not indeed see the sticky sap coming from the several cuts in the tree trunk, so he moved on farther into the forest. He came to a spruce tree and again raised his axe. But the spruce tree protested.

“Don’t cut me down. You will find me of little use for my wood is twisted and knotty.”

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Week 1 Extend -Memory Palace of Trees… a collection of stories

Extend Ginkgo Memory Palace of Trees
Week 1 ‘Extend’, (Ginkgo Series) oil on canvas 50 x150 cm Niamh Cunningham 倪芙瑞莲 2016

Happy New Year, welcome to the ‘Memory Palace of Trees’ project 2020. This is a shared collection of stories about trees. I am aiming to gather tales and information from people all over the world, not just here in China. Your story can be about any kind of tree, you might be a carpenter, an academic , a student who has just planted a tree, or someone who simply admires trees. Maybe your story is a memory from decades ago. It is your story. It can be as short as “ I love the Chestnut tree” for example but  please try to keep your story to less than 200 words if possible . Your story might make it into one of the weekly posts (there will be 52 of them! ). If you send me your story (let me know if you want to be referred to by your name  or an initial , pen name or kept anonymous.)   Each week throughout 2020 a story  or some kind of information on trees will be posted with either an artwork already made or perhaps your story will inspire me to make a new work!

Throughout the year 2020 I also will be engaging and learning from various people such as foresters, nature filmmakers, photographers, carpenters,  ethnic minorities,  reconnecting with communities such as Friends of Nature  and my old  Hiking buddies .

handful of ginkgo leaves

And so Week 1 artwork is called ‘Extend’ as the outreach for the project of “Memory Palace of Trees” begins.

‘The Memory Palace of Trees’ is an invitation to the public to participate in story telling about trees. Memory Palaces are places where journey , image and information work together to remember things you want to keep in your mind.

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Portrait Project 2019

Bachmann Girl (week19) and Friend to Many (week 32) Bloomsday event at the Embassy of Ireland Beijing June 16th 2019 (photo by Eric Favreliere )

A very Happy New Year to all. A huge thank you to all the galleries curators and collectors who have supported me throughout 2019.

Here is a quick overview of the portraits posted during 2019 . The subjects range in age from 6 months to 100 years young. I began this series when living in Prague in 2010. There are many more friends, artists, curators, family members whom I have yet to paint however for the year 2020 I will continue at a more reasonable pace , perhaps 4 or 5 portraits alongside commission work.

This blog will look at the portrait series installed in different exhibitions in 2019 and a look at the portrait for each week through the year. Also included in this blog is a curatorial statement on my portrait series by renowned curator Huang Du.

Portraits at the exhibition ‘Odyssey The Return’ at Dong Yue Art Museum Beijing April 2019
Granary Art Centre, SiShui county , Shandong, May 2019
Dancer (week 10) and Twin Song (week 8) showing at Wick Art Centre, Budapest, April 2019
From right to left :Praha Cafe (week 3) and Scoop (week 24) and others showing at China Ireland exhibition , Museu&m Expo Park , Shanghai Nov 2019


Week1 :Blazer Blue oil on canvas 50x50cm Niamh Cuningham/倪芙瑞联 2018
Week 2 Princess of Daxing 50×50 oil on canvas, Niamh Cunningham 倪芙瑞莲 2013
Week 3 : Café Praha (C.C) oil on canvas 80x60cm Niamh Cunningham/倪芙瑞莲2010
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Week 52: Letter to the President.AmcK

Letter to the President AK 50x50cm acrylic on canvas , 倪芙瑞莲Niamh Cunningham 2019

The final week for the 2019 portrait project …..I walked to school with A for many years as a child . She has always been an animal lover and when she was 10 years old she won an audience with President Hillery for an essay competition. The essay highlighted what she would do if she was president of Ireland building many animal shelters etc….. She is also rather fond of humans and is a distinguished clinical pyschologist.

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