Memory Palace of Trees – an overview


Web of fabulous grass, sucrose series, Niamh Cunningham 2018 

Memory Palace of Trees:

In October 2019  after reading the Pulitzer prize winning book ‘The OverStory’ by Richard Powers I started my plans for the socio-eco art practice ‘The Memory Palace of Trees’. It began in January 2020 at a time when the pandemic was just about to reveal itself as the most urgent global emergency of our lifetime. The pandemic is very much part of our ecological crisis and how we ‘utilize’ the natural world.  Throughout a most turbulent year, people worldwide have reappraised their relationship and dependance on the natural world. Many have turned to nature to claim a space of sanctity and sanity and some people have shared their stories with us in the Memory Palace of Trees.  

Gingko Palace  Sucrose Series 83 x 120 cm print on Aluminium  Niamh Cunningham 2020 (week 15)

Most of these are personal stories.  Submissions came from a range of different people in the US, Europe, Australia and Asia including a children’s writer, poets, dendrologists, artists, a dancer, a forester, an ant forest app user, photographers, academics and more

Ginkgo Palace UV print on Aluminium 80 x 120 cm  Niamh Cunningham  2020 

…..many of these stories inspired the makings of new artworks .


Here is a one minute video clip of the artwork for the November tree story . 

Ladybird of DongXiaokou (6 min 40 secs) video Niamh Cunningham 2020   Dancer: Zhang Yi , Music Credit: Ciorras 


I want to say a huge THANK YOU to ALL contributors and I will be in contact soon to thank each of you properly. Your stories will act as important stations (or installations) in the Memory Palace of Trees and will be a part of larger future artworks




The Second Beech  Niamh Cunningham 倪芙瑞莲2020 (week 17 of the Memory Palace of Trees)

Ice Willow , Sucrose 8.7.2020 Print on Aluminium , Niamh Cunningham -Kosimas Willow Story 




Chestnut – Park Tree Sucrose Series original Sucrose 50 x 50 cm  Niamh Cunningham 2020 (week 12)




What is a memory palace?

This is a map of a physical space with ‘stations’ containing information you want to remember, these stations are arranged in a linear journey . Here is a link to a  blog from last year  : Journey Image and Space the Memory palace workshops.


Open Call for your tree story on video 

Memory Palace of Trees will continue in 2021. This year the submissions will be in video format. If you have a story you can tell in less than a minute (less than 60 seconds), please  find your favorite tree sit under it and video yourself  on your phone telling the story. I can help with the editing and add the English or Chinese subtitles.  Please ensure the sound quality of your recording is clear.  If you are in Beijing I can come and video you if you wish. Please ask if you have any questions about this. 

Looking forward to hearing from you.  Please email me at



Jinan Tree Song  Sucrose Series, print on aluminium 158 x 120cm  Niamh Cunningham 2020