Say My Name and I Will Tell You My Story

“When we learn to listen to plants without the need to hear them speak, a language that we have forgotten emerges... This language belongs to plants, and so do the stories...”                                      

– Monica Gagliano

The art project ‘SAY MY NAME AND I WILL TELL YOU MY STORY’ explores memories, narratives and stories of Eucalyptus trees, from their indigenous wisdom and meanings, to their use in contemporary Western society. 

'I had a dream - a sacred Eucalyptus tree appeared to me. I felt its invitation, the call to help eucalyptus trees communicate their message. To use my skills as an artist to engage people to think and feel differently towards a different relationship to these trees. 
In this project, the voice of Eucalyptus tree is at the center. 
A project that responds to the invitation of the Eucalyptus tree, through intuition, learning and surrender. These artworks have emerged in an organic way, through many walks, observation, listening, and then using the natural materials the trees offer - Eucalyptus leaves and bark printed directly on fabric.
Through my art, the trees are given a voice, they speak to us. 

In Portugal, talking about Eucalyptus is a taboo, a controversial subject due to its association with monoculture, desertification, fires, land degradation, and complex business, regulatory and human realities, for which the tree has become a scapegoat.

The symbolic message of my dream was strongly present within me, I let myself be guided by the spirit of the tree. I began experimenting with botanical printing techniques, a process that allows the leaves and the bark of the trees to give out tannins and express them as images on fabric. I created a series of works on paper, as preliminary studies and moving onto cotton fabric, creating larger-scale scrolls, which you can see in the space. 

Through listening to the trees, I understood it is not their fault that they are here, in Portugal, in such numbers. I understood they have a message for us humans, they have a role to play in our changing world, they can be a part of balanced ecosystems. The trees persuaded me to open a conversation, to move towards finding new solutions, to set aside the old pattern of complaining and blaming trees, time has come for humans to take responsibility for our species’ actions. 
Say my name and I will tell you my story gives Eucalyptus trees, or gum trees as they are called in Australia, a voice and brings forth their message. The trees open the possibility for us to ask them questions, communicate with them and perhaps tell a new story. 

This collaborative project between curator Inês Valle and artist Evgenia Emets, opens with an art installation at Espaço Espelho d'Água in Belém, Lisbon. A rich education programme invites audiences to a series of online conversations. 
The CERA PROJECT, presents newly commissioned work by artist Evgenia Emets, curated by Inês Valle, inspired by research in trees and forests. Evgenia Emets explores the link between nature’s biodiversity and human language and culture, narratives around colonisation and decolonisation of nature. This work is rooted in the relationship the artist has developed with the Eucalyptus family during her life in Portugal.  

29 October 
‘Plant intelligence and plant communication’ with Monica Gagliano and Sarah Abbott. 
A hot topic in recent science, changing and challenging the ways we look at plants, offering inspiration and tapping into ancient knowledge verified through modern scientific research. A special edition of Eternal Forest Conversations. 

3 November

‘Eucalyptus: Indigenous knowledge’ with Dr. Philip Clarke. 

The Eucalyptus tree has been an integral part of Indigenous culture in Australia, in medicines, food, art, everyday objects, as well as being considered a sacred tree in many tribes. How can we look at the Eucalyptus tree differently in Europe, inspired by the Indigenous wisdom and stories? 


5 November, 17h-19h 

‘The intangible heritage of forests’ with Ana Monsalve Cuartas and Ana Aguas. 

Since the dawn of agriculture we have started looking at forests from a purely utilitarian perspective. What are we missing and how is the value of forests more important than ever for our society?  

Artist / Artista

Evgenia Emets​

Curated / Curadoria

In​ês Valle

Venue / Local

Espaço Espelho D'Água 

Belém, Portugal


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