Camille Drury ’19 recently painted human organs on campus trees for an installation art project entitled Our Organs. Her work illustrates the lungs, uterus, and heart on the trees with acrylic paint to symbolize the connection between human life and the natural world.
This found objects project is part of her Advanced Painting and Drawing class with Jō Adachi. Students were assigned to find three objects and then paint images on them that correlated a message in a meaningful and cohesive way. Camille’s project shares the messages of growth, rebirth, femininity, womanhood, and life.
“I chose to represent organs on the trees because when I walk through campus it is hard to imagine it without the trees and plants everywhere,” Camille said. “Trees and the natural world offer us so much, and I often feel as if we don’t treat them as we should. By depicting organs on the trees, I hoped to create a sense of equality among us and them.”
Her interest in art began early in her childhood when her mom would encourage Camille and her siblings to be resourceful and creative. Being able to make something out of nothing, and repurpose materials that she had in front of her, fueled Camille’s creative pursuits.
“I simply find solace in trying to work with new materials or painting to get things off my chest,” Camille said.
The painted lungs refer to the “breath of life.” Camille shares that this concept is not just about how trees provide us with oxygen, but also about how they are intertwined with us, sharing the same environment and earth. The uterus symbolizes rebirth and creation, the fertility of the human race, and the production and growth of the natural world. Finally, the heart of life directly refers to the soul and love we experience as humans, and how our kindness should extend to organisms outside of ourselves.
Camille hopes that her message will resonate with others in the community who pass by the trees on campus, and allow them to see the reflection of themselves in nature. The trees are located by Hallowell on the pathway that leads to the meetinghouse and library.
“It was great to have people stop me and ask me questions about what and why I was painting. I was able to interact with a lot of people which was what I wanted—for them to think about it.”