Week 7 The ancient ginkgo of Wuhan No 5 Hospital


This week’s  tree story comes from a city whose people are in our hearts and on our minds .

Ginkgo Glade 161x115cm Niamh Cunningham 倪芙瑞莲2015


This story comes from someone who often visits Wuhan.

‘When I am in Wuhan I frequently visit friends in Hanyang near St Columban’s Cathedral, a short distance from where the Han River enters the much bigger Yangtze River. Almost as impressive as the Yangtze River is the towering 550-year-old ginkgo tree that stands across the road . Under its shadow stands Wuhan’s Number 5 Hospital. In recent weeks this hospital was designated to receive patients suffering from the coronavirus.

Hanyang’s famous ginkgo tree has witnessed many historical events. Dynasties have come and gone, floods have risen and abated and wars have taken their toll on the people. Now as the tree stands without leaves following the visit of another winter, it is witness to an event that poses as big a challenge as any that has gone before. Considering its long years, perhaps it is no surprise that the tree is now protected within a neat compound. An elderly couple living in small home at the compound entrance ensures that the tree and its history are protected.’ Anonymous


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! 



Ancient Ginkgo at Wuhan hospital no 5