Bottle trees fascinate me because of their sculptural quality, their character and charm. Their visible growth can also become a visual analogy to the expected growth and maturity of the Green Square community.
While I Live I Will Grow is an installation of living artwork on the site of the former South Sydney Hospital. It consists of several Queensland bottle trees (Brachychiton Rupestris) and a sculpture of sandstone blocks arranged in pairs, one on top of another, in a spiral.
The sculpture’s spiral form represents growth cycles in nature, the growth of Green Square as a community, and the personal growth of individuals, families and children in the area.
While I Live I will Grow connects strongly with the site, which was once part of a series of wetlands that were drained to make way for development and industry, leading to drought and flooding. The bottle trees signify this local history and the water management strategies that are a key aspect of the Green Square renewal project.
Maria Fernanda Cardoso said of her work:
“Part of the brief for the project was to address issues of water management in Green Square. I thought, what could be more physically and formally visible than the shaped trunk of a bottle tree? They expand and contract in times of flood or drought, and they never seem stressed. Not only beautiful, this species has developed a very elegant Australian water management strategy.”
Maria Fernanda Cardoso was born in Colombia and lives in Sydney. She has a Master’s degree in Sculpture and Installation from Yale University, and is known for her unconventional use of materials and the use of animals as inspiration.
Cardoso has exhibited her work in major museums and galleries in the US, Latin America, Australia and Europe, including Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery in Canberra and the Tate Gallery in London. She has won numerous awards and scholarships, and represented Colombia at the Venice Biennale in 2003.