Artists Unite in Support of Darwin Oak
25 Jan 2024

Forty artists are coming together in a special exhibition at Bear Steps this March inspired by the campaign to save the 550-year-old oak tree, the 'Darwin Oak'. Picture Credit: Chris Warrender Photography. 

An unique exhibition led by one of the UK's leading contemporary artists Dan Llywelyn Hall will see 40 artists exhibiting at Bear Steps gallery this March, in support of the 'Darwin Oak'. 

Inspired by the campaign to save the 550 year old ancient oak tree, dubbed the ‘Darwin Oak’, the collaborative exhibition from March 17 - 31 will represent an unique artistic celebration of this iconic tree. 

The Darwin Oak

Pictured: Darwin Oak Campaign co-ordinators Rob McBride and Karen Pearce

The famous tree is under threat of destruction - along with nearly 1,000 other trees and hedgerows - due to the proposed 'North West Relief Road' around Shrewsbury, which has been the subject of much heated debate. A petition against the proposed development, which calls upon Shropshire Council to safeguard The Darwin Oak as part of the North West Relief Road scheme, has attracted close to 100,000 signatures.

The landscape of the area, known as Shelton Rough, hasn’t changed for centuries. It is understood that the naturalist Charles Darwin, Shrewsbury’s most famous son, who was born in a house on The Mount, walked and played in the shadow of this ancient tree. The area around the tree was his natural playground, where he developed his love of natural history and collecting - and he would very likely have interacted with this significant landmark (and perhaps even clambered into its boughs to contemplate the natural world?!). 

Dan Llwelyn Hall painting the Darwin Oak

Artist Dan Llywelyn Hall finds inspiration in the Darwin Oak. Picture Credit: Rob McBride

An artistic celebration as well as a protest

The forty artists, galvanised by Dan Llywelyn Hall (pictured), one of the UK’s most recognised contemporary artists, are all local. Together they are supporting the Campaign to save the Darwin Oak and its immediate environment. Their artworks include oil and water-colour paintings, sculpture, photography and poetry. All artwork will be for sale with money going towards the campaign’s legal costs.

Llywelyn Hall said: “This exhibition celebrates the beauty of the Darwin Oak through the eyes of artists. However, we are also visualising the potential of a great loss. This is a cry for help and a rally call to keep the heat on the campaign.”

Image of artwork in support of the Darwin Oak Campaign

Pictured: Nature Persists, a painting by Stephen Hopper

Pictured below: 'The Darwin Oak' painting by Dan Llywelyn Hall and ceramic by Jay Lanyon

The Darwin Oak exhibition will be at Bear Steps Gallery, Saint Alkmonds Place from March 17 - 31, open 10am to 4pm.

Darwin oak artwork in brown
Darwin Oak ceramic artwork