Tate Britain Exhibition

Christmas Tree 1993: Shirazeh Houshiary

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Sculptor Shirazeh Houshiary was invited to create the 1993 Tate Gallery Christmas Tree. Houshiary decided to move away from the traditional notion of decorating the Christmas tree and instead chose to focus on the natural qualities of the tree itself such as texture, colour, smell and shape.

She achieved this by turning the tree upside down and exposing its roots and hanging it from the ceiling of the Gallery, thus creating the impression of the tree floating in air with the roots free from their earthly constraints. The roots were covered in gold leaf to reflect the beauty and intricacy of this part of the tree and also as a way of focusing light away from the branches to the roots themselves which usually remain hidden under the soil. She described her tree for the Tate Gallery as 'taking earth back to heaven' which refers to her interest in astronomy, mysticism and the interplay between light and dark.


Shirazeh Houshiary was born in Iran in 1955. Having moved to London in the early 1970's Houshiary graduated from the Chelsea School of Art in 1979. She was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1994. She currently lives and works in London.

Tate Britain

London SW1P 4RG
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5 December 1993 – 4 January 1994

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