The Brexit Tree was planted on the 31 Jan 2020, the day of Brexit, in Huntly, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, UK.

Artist Statement Clemens Wilhelm:

“Since the Middle Ages weeping willows are seen as symbols of lost love, mourning and sorrow in Europe. But there are much older sources from Babylon, China, and Pre-Christian Northern Europe that speak of the weeping willow as the tree of healing, invincibility and magic, because the bark of willows contains salycyl, a substance similar to modern day aspirin, which has been used to cure pain and illnesses since ancient times.

“The Brexit Tree” is a paradoxical image for an ambiguous moment in British, European and World History. Many people in Britain and the world feel an intense sorrow and loss because of Brexit. But more than half of the British voters opted to leave the EU, and one should assume that they are hopeful, and see Brexit as the beginning of a positive new era, and possibly a time of healing.

Just like Brexit, the weeping willow combines both of these opposing feelings – loss and healing – and unites them in its outstanding beauty. Let us not get lost in political divisions, but look to the bigger problems that we are facing as humanity in this age: planting a tree is probably a good idea in the age of global warming and climate change.”

More than 75 British and international media outlets have reported on “The Brexit Tree”, including the The BBC, The Times, The Daily Mail, The Glasgow Herald, The Independent, iTV, Süddeutsche Zeitung, and Ta Nea.

This project was commissioned by Claudia Zeiske, Deveron Projects. The project runs parallel to the political Brexit process. The planting of the Brexit Tree was postponed two times due to the postponement of Brexit: the first scheduled date was 29 March 2019, then 31 October 2019, and the final date was the 31 January 2020.

The Brexit Tree was planted together with the guest of honour Prof. Richard Demarco.

Since then, the Brexit Tree has been vandalized and replanted two times.

A documentary film about “The Brexit Tree” (80 mins | 2021) in collaboration with Jan Martinec is premiered on 4th of February 2021 on the Alchemy Film & Arts online channel.

Location of “The Brexit Tree”

Documentation Photography: Iman Tajik & Clemens Wilhelm