Joana Cabrita Martins is a Portugal-based artist who merges design and activism. By choosing local natural materials and pairing her pieces with social or environmental messages, her studio work calls attention to the issues plaguing our planet today. Her latest collection, “Trees of My Land” (or “Árvores da Minha Terra”), is a duo of handmade pieces crafted from olive tree wood and clay by master artisans.
“Trees of My Land” is inspired by the loss of biodiversity caused by human influence and highlights the importance of trees through organic design. Both pieces in the collection celebrate a similar planter design, with a pattern of cut out holes on top of a clay vase with a wooden base.
The first, simply named “Tree,” was inspired by radical pruning. According to the artist, the openings at the top symbolize mutilated trees, while the natural wood at the bottom and the sprouting root coming off represent a plant’s attempt to sustain life after being pruned. The base also features pointed triangular feet to help support it along with the root, giving it an almost levitating look.
The second, “Bulb,” alludes to smaller plant species with a hanging design and thick, bulging roots sprouting from underneath. The openings and natural roots connect both pieces in the collection, though they are still unique to the distinctive works of art. The plants inside are real living plants, while the vases around them symbolize rebirth. One of nature’s greatest attributes — its resilience — is apparent at the core of the sustainable collection.
“The ensemble is an urgent appeal for changing the behaviour that is leading to the premature death of nature, inevitably leading to the gradual decline of the biosphere and consequential human life extinction,” said the studio in a press release. “The collection’s poetic message is of hope with the first intent to be a cry of alarm.”
Images via Joana Cabrita Martins Studio