This project was inspired by a large tree in the Sheffield General Cemetery. As Shen walked past a grave with a stone monument, some fallen leaves drifted down from the tree and slid to the ground. Shen suddenly felt some ambiguous link between the headstone, the tree and himself. The huge tree standing solemnly was some years old, and it’s trunk was thick. It was like a guard, guarding the people buried in the earth. The tombstones are inscribed with the time the deceased spent on this earth and the words left by those who mourn them. The leaves must have slipped off the shoulders of many who came to pay their respects and fell on the graves, slowly decaying and seeping into the soil, passing on their thoughts to the deceased who lay there quietly. The leaves must have contained many blessings, wishes, thoughts, regrets, recent good things and troubles.
If Shen were a family member of a deceased person in a cemetery, he might prefer the tree to flourish so that season after season, the leaves of thoughts and greetings can fall off and be buried in the soil. Shen might have preferred that the tree had survived in good health so that it could carry more of my thoughts. It would help him to look after his departed family members when he has to return home less and less. So, Shen started making pendants in the form of branches that could be inserted into the base of a trunk-shaped installation. At the same time, they could also be hung with notes with messages. Shen chose to create the trunk and abstract branches in the shape of a Lohan pine bonsai. In traditional Chinese culture, the Lohan pine has a symbolic meaning of blessing the elderly.