A journal of art + literature engaging with nature, culture, the environment & ecology

Introduction to tree shaman series

Introduction to tree shaman series

Lydia Kwa, Singapore-Canada

tree shaman #3 © Lydia Kwa

tree shaman #3 © Lydia Kwa

The scanned image of tree shaman #3 was produced by Robert Marks from The Lab, Vancouver, BC.

This project revolved around sixteen instant film images I shot on 24th August 2015, of parts of a birch tree that had been cut down after succumbing to disease following a dry spell in Vancouver. Images were taken with an old Polaroid camera, using film from the Impossible Project.


Eight images were shot in the morning; then another eight in the late afternoon.


The image reproduced here is the third one in the morning series, and the poetic lines reprinted accompany the sixteen images in the chapbook tree shaman (Lydia Kwa Books, 2018). Proceeds from sale of the chapbook will be donated to Pacific Wild Alliance. To order the chapbook, email lydia@lydiakwa.com

tree shaman

(poetic lines to accompany sixteen images)





resonant wound




mundane reality veils



eavesdrop on murmurs


spectate the unspectacular


or misperceive as ordinary


sighs in subtle rippling


 late afternoon

symbol for a cut


light enters dying


dusk parses



to immaterial


truth exists elsewhere


long past the sound of chainsaw

a code of exile


form’s dissolution



of this loss



 Reprinted with permission.

Lydia Kwa has published four novels and two books of poetry. Her writing spans various times and spaces in the Asia-Pacific region and imagination. She lives and works in Vancouver as a writer and psychologist. Her recent art show tree shaman featured images of a cut-down birch tree.

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