David Nash’s Ash Dome was originally planted somewhere in the Welsh landscape in 1977. Twenty two ash tree’s are planted in a circle, sculpted to twist and lean inwards to create an encapsulating and growing liminal or transitional space. Nash created this hidden work as a monument to an uncertain future.
You can image what it would be like to stumble upon Nash’s Ash Dome in the landscape. To come through the forest and find this dome of trees, both orderly and out of place. Is it a safe spot, or does the twisting inward lean of the trees twisted trucks represent something more threatening?
I wanted something that belonged to the place and something which didn’t resist the elements but actually engaged with the elements… People were talking about the human being destroying itself before we got to the 21st century. I thought I would make a sculpture amid at the 21st century.
– David Nash
When I first planted the ring of trees for Ash Dome, the Cold War was still a threat. There was serious economic gloom, very high unemployment in our country, and nuclear war was a real possibility. We were killing the planet, which we still are because of greed. In Britain, our governments were changing quickly, so we had very short-term political and economic policies. To make a gesture by planting something for the 21st century, which was what Ash Dome was about, was a long-term commitment, an act of faith. I did not know what I was letting myself in for.
– David Nash
A long term commitment to the 21st century and to the forces of nature, Ash Dome outlived the threats of the cold war and nuclear annihilation. It’s next goal, like a lot of artwork, was to outlive the artist. A silent monument watching as time past, an outlook that that could far surpass a human lifetime. In this case the forces of nature have taken an unfortunate toll, and the Ash Dome will likely be lost to ash die back disease.