Yuletide Blessings

Yuletide Blessings
City Mall, Ōtautahi Christchurch
1 December 2022 – 9 January 2023
Recycled Materials
Commissioned by Toi Ōtautahi

Christmas shoppers in City Mall are getting the chance to discover traditional Christmas trees re-imagined as art installations.

The group of five Christmas trees, entitled ‘Yuletide Blessings’, are the work of artist Jen Alexandra who has transformed old and unused Christmas trees into striking works of art.

The recycled trees are part of Toi Ōtautahi, the city’s arts strategy, which aims to engage communities with art in a variety of different contexts and situations.

By creating the black Christmas trees, Jen Alexandra aims to spark discussion about what Christmas represents to us.

“While black may be a confronting colour, it has a range of associations for us; from high fashion, to rugby, to mourning,” says arts advisor, Jamie Hanton. “One particular tree, made from silk clay, seems to be melting. By removing the colours we usually associate with Christmas, we are asked to consider their significance and history.”

Hanton says the trees have been getting a lot of interest from the public.

“We’ve had a lot of people stop and say that they appreciate seeing something that’s unconventional, rather than your traditional red and green Christmas tree,” he says. “Mostly reactions have been positive, but they’re certainly capturing people’s attention- which is what art should do.”

The trees are made from a variety of materials and build on Alexandra’s 2021–22 exhibition at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna O Waiwhetū, When The Veil Is Thin, which also featured her unique take on traditional sculptures and symbols.

Yuletide Blessings can be viewed in City Mall until  9 January 2023.

Sarah Rowlands Photography