Close detail of a translucent glass panel. An excerpt of text on the panel reads, " winter twilight a sheltering tree, its branches quick with song. Green spears in frost-bright gardens thrusting, changing to gold flowers welcoming the world's deep warmth. Everywhere the springing force, the sapstream in a fretwork of transparent leaves..."
Several tall, thin translucent glass panels rise alongside a stand of young gum trees. The panels are blue-green and have inscriptions on them that are not legible.
Close view of a glass panel inscribed with "Eucalyptus intermedia". Hundreds of tiny seeds are embedded in the glass. In the distance are many more glass panels and gum trees.

Traces of botanical memory captured within glass panels are reflected in the present by reintroduced native plants.

Artist: Janet Laurence, Jisuk Han
Curator: Sally Couacaud

Artwork description

A 100m curvilinear passage of red gums, native grass plantings and glass panels runs along the central spine of the site also occupied by a statue of Henry Lawson in The Domain. Veil of Trees, by Janet Laurence and Jisuk Han refers to an original stand of red gums felled during early European settlement. Commissioned as part of the Sydney Sculpture Walk for the Sydney 2000 Olympics, the installation reflects on the botanical history of The Domain and at the same time rejuvenates the site with species indigenous to the area.

Memory is embodied within the glass and steel panels. Some are inscribed with excerpts of texts and poetry by Australian authors, selected for their evocation of the nature of the bush. Others contain traces of ash, honey, resin, minerals and seeds of indigenous trees; organic material representing the botanical history of The Domain.

With the play of light on the translucent glass, a passage of reflection is created, a space where memory is gathered. LED lights in the panels illuminate the passage at night creating a poetic and fluid environment that reflects both the architectural and the natural surroundings.

Amid the glass a ribbon of red forest gums (Eucalyptus tereticornis) have been planted, each tree grown from the seed of the gums which existed there before European settlement. Along with native grasses, these trees regenerate the area with species once found there.

“Trees were their thoughts:
peppermint gum black-sally,
white tea-tree hung over creeks …
There is
there was
a country
that spoke in the language of leaves.

– Judith Wright, Falls Country


Janet Laurence is a Sydney-based artist who works in mixed media and installation.

Exploring notions of art, science, imagination, memory, and loss, Laurence’s practice examines the interconnection of life forms and ecologies. Her work addresses our relationship to nature through both site-specific and gallery works.

Jisuk Han has worked in the area of interpretive design, art and architecture for more than 20 years and has collaborated with artists, architects, curators and museums throughout Australia.

Since her first collaborative artwork with Laurence in 1996, she has completed numerous site-specific interpretive artwork projects with many artists in a varying role as artist, designer and/or production manager.