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An eye for detail: the new art exhibition celebrating native trees

Native trees have long served as an inspiration for a range of artworks in Aotearoa. Rana Summers is no exception: her new exhibition, Pods, celebrates the minute details of some of our favourite native rākau.

“This work all started with a pod I found in the middle of an Auckland Central City Park from a tree which I could not identify,” explains Rana. 

“Eventually someone identified the tree for me, but I was hooked on pods by then.”

‘Pods’ is both the name and subject matter for Rana’s exhibition, which runs from March 2-14 at Auckland’s Mairangi Arts Centre.

“I’ve since been fascinated with how trees, such mighty organisms, produce tiny seeds which they wrap in a variety of intricate casings,” says Rana. 

“I set about to draw some simple graphite sketches to show just a few of these—I’m a relatively new artist, but I adore the natural world and my art tends to reflect its intricate detail.”

The Pods exhibition shows more than twenty of these sketches of both native and exotic pods, winged seeds and cones. 

Rana is also running a competition to encourage people to engage with the artwork by identifying the genus or common name of the featured trees.

“I believe trees are often taken for granted and we need to see their importance,” Rana says. 

“I have a deep abiding love of trees, as I grew up in a forest. Underneath that exotic forest sprang native trees, and with them other the native life. It taught me so much.”

To really make the exhibition count for native trees, Rana is generously donating a third of any sales to Trees That Count for native tree planting.

“I have been watching Trees that Count for years and I love anything that encourages us to plant native trees and fosters community involvement—so I want to support their good work,” says Rana.

You can visit Rana’s exhibition and enter her competition to identify the pod illustrations at the Mairangi Arts Centre until March 14.