Bottle Tree

Ava Hager, “Bottle Tree”
Mentor: Glenn Williams, Art & Design

The proposed project for the Lynden Sculpture Garden is a metal tree with bottles attached to the branches. This will be a re-examination of the bottle tree as a reference to African American cultural identity, stemming from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola traditions. These traditions were carried forth by Africans during the transatlantic slave trade. The life-size sculptural tree will be a physical manifestation of the collective stories and parallel histories surrounding the various folklore traditions that have fueled modern interpretation of the bottle tree. In creating this work we are examining the power of tradition as a psychological mechanism to sustain ones cultural distinctiveness.

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link to full poster


  1. Ava Hager,
    Wonderful presentation! I was introduced to this magical tradition in an Art History course at the University of Notre Dame in IN. A few years later, I visited New Orleans where I saw many in The Garden District. They are beautiful and fascinating! Thank you for sharing this tradition in MKE and presenting its transformative power. Congratulations!

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