A burnt Christmas tree made from charred branches and scorched household items has been set up in the middle of Sydney as a poignant reminder of the deadly bushfires that continue to ravage Australia.
The installation is a contrast to the bright Christmas presents wrapped in glittery red, silver and gold papers that surround the bottom of the art piece.
Artist James Dive said the artwork was a symbol of the shadow that bushfires have cast over the festive season as well as the resilience of Australian communities.
People visiting the activation in the city can actually see the burnt logs, a scorched bicycle, a ruined fire alarm and other destroyed household goods from this year’s fatal fire season.
“The idea was to create a burnt Christmas tree. So, the idea then became, lets go and get the real stuff. The timbers, the burnt items, everything out there from the bushfire districts and create a Christmas tree in the middle of the city,” Dive told Reuters.
“The idea was to surround the bottom of the tree with cheerful presents because I didn’t want this work to be all doom and gloom. I think this is about us just helping each other and trying to make someone else’s Christmas just slightly better.”
The installation, created in partnership with the Red Cross and the City of Sydney, is on display until today and features tap-and-go EFTPOS stations where people can donate to The Red Cross.
Canadian tourist Angela said it’s an important symbol of the crisis the country is facing.
“I wanted to see it and I’m glad a lot of people will. It’ll bring the severity of all of this to home,” she said.
As many as six people have died in New South Wales in the current bushfires with more than 700 homes destroyed and nearly 3 million acres of land burnt.
Fire authorities in NSW said on Wednesday there were 99 fires still burning, half of which were not contained as the country faces an extreme heatwave.
Jill Gralow and Cordelia Hsu contributed to this report.