Week 16 Swan Goose forest


Delighted this week to have a story from the artist Wu YiQiang吴以强 on a Tree planting project. 

Week 16. Swan Goose Forest oil on canvas 90x 240cm Niamh Cunningham 倪芙瑞莲2020

In 2008, Dongying Art District Beijing I often watched flocks of swan geese flying overhead and alongside this horizon were “lofty aspirations ” of the North drifting artists. In September of the same year the financial crisis swept the globe and since then only the sparrows have been chirping with no swan geese taking to the air.

Perhaps it was due to the heavy haze, maybe it was too hard a struggle to survive. I would like to believe that there are still a large number of swan geese in different habitats   thriving and breeding and that they have changed their flight routes from south to north. There are too many factories in Henan and Hebei. They object to the battalions of chimney stacks lined up with their hateful acrid fumes. These negative environmental markers forced the geese off route.

If you attempt to research these geese online using we chat, it is embarrassing that most results are about how to cook swan geese, introducing braised swan goose in brown sauce , yellow braised geese, the most delicious geese signature dishes! My eyes are lowered, food culture is a twisted evil ! It would appear that too many swan geese bore gifts of so much hope, alas they were all consumed by the diners!

With the progress of time comes interventions of civilization. These days, many people no longer agree to hunt wild animals for lunch and dinner. Culture does not equal civilization.  Love, a universal value, ​​is also very important and without this, culture remains a narrow, selfish and cruel existence.

The values promoted by contemporary artists is not popular under the current ideology. A group of artists located a point on the swan goose migratory route, to create a ” swan goose forest” on a barren slope there. Joined elites from all walks of life are participating in the ecological project of harmonious coexistence between man and nature. It was due to be implemented on March 12, 2020 with 100 people beginning the first phase. The “Swan Goose forest ” will be a sprouting of contemporary civilization, a social sculpture on the evolution of farming culture.

In Henan places like Shidagou, Linzhou  Yangerling (translated as Gosling ridge )  used to be the locations where wild geese took flights and landed. After the disappearance of the natural forest, the ecosystem was lost along with the geese.

The relationship between man and nature has never been so profound and painful as in 2020. Protecting nature is not just thinking about maintaining ecological balance, it is time to join us!

Hundreds, Thousands, Ten Thousands … “Luoyan Forest” has continues, humming “Swan Goose” softly, pleased with the capitalized characters in the sky.


Linzhou Shidagou Culture and Art Creation Center has begun to prepare the selections of tree species. The green ecological initiative by the art community has received more and more support from friends of all walks of life. Thank you very much.

But the epidemic is not over however. I was afraid that I would be caught and quarantined for 14 days when I got there. And when I return I would be detained for another 14 days.

As an organizer, I can only stay in the studio and maintain the communication with WeChat Shao Qibing, Meizhu, and Zhu Xinzhan. There is only one thing that seems constant, staying in the studio working away consistently and whether you do well or not take account and give yourself a clear explanation.


April 2020  Wu Yiqiang 吴以强


Memory Palace of Trees 2020 is an ecological art practice which invites your participation 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. Each week throughout 2020 a story will be posted with either an artwork already made or perhaps your story will inspire me to make a new work!