Art Miami 2017 kicked off this year to great fanfare. Hundreds of local, national and international artists showcased their works of art, which covered every medium imaginable. For one artist, a beautiful but damaged tree was her canvas and plants were her brushes. The Faena Hotel partnered with St-Germain elderflower liqueur and Lily Kwong, a 29-year old landscape artist, and creative director, to revitalize the hotels iconic Clusia rosea tree, which suffered damage in the wake of Hurricane Irma’s devastation. The result was the “MAISON ST-GERMAIN: Tree of Life” art installation.
Kwong’s piece honors the longstanding role of trees as a universal symbol of physical & spiritual nourishment, transformation, liberation, union, and fertility. The installation channeled the joy of a thousand flowers to breathe new life into the symbolic sapling with exotic orchids and epiphytes that exemplify global culture, featuring plant species indigenous to South America, East Asia, Africa and beyond. To celebrate the unveiling of the installation during Miami Art Week and in celebration of the 1,000 delicate elderflowers in every bottle of St-Germain, The Faena Hotel created two specialty cocktails titled the Windfall and St-Germain Spritz. Both cocktails paid tribute to the elderflower blossoms which are handpicked at the height of their beauty during an ephemeral growing season once a year.
To complement the Tree of Life, a ‘Maison’ installation built from beams of light illuminated the Faena Hotel’s oceanfront beach. Adorned with florals and prisms representing the elderflowers of St-Germain, the Maison was a reminder to live life in full bloom. Like trees, the rainbows cast by the prisms are considered bridges that connect the heavens to the mortal, earthly realm in cultures ranging from the Mayas to the Japanese. As the tree continues to recover and generate new growth, Kwong’s installation will exalt the Faena’s Clusea rosea as a Tree of Life, a timeless symbol of hope, healing and regeneration.