A thirsty tree over the lake in Texas
During the autumn of 2013, the Chinese artist Beili Liu, in collaboration with the architects Norma Yancey and Emily Little and the landscape architect Cassie Bergstrom, created Thirst, a site-specific artwork exhibited on Lady Bird Johnson Lake in Austin, Texas. It was a work created to denounce the severe water crisis which hit Texas after a drought that killed millions of trees.
The installation consisted of a drought-killed cedar elm tree painted white and supported by a pole in the middle of the lake. The roots of the tree barely reached the surface of the water without touching it, thus increasing the tragic nature of the work: the tree was deprived of water, the element that gives it life. It was alone, decadent and thirsty. Here the water was not dominated by the artists, it was the water of the lake, a natural and vital element, the physical and spiritual heart of the city and the fundamental concept which surrounded freedomly the work.
The area around the lake was also decorated with 14,000 prayer flags with the printed image of a dead tree created by the artists. These flags took inspiration from the Tibetan prayer flags which represents a blessings for other people and the White color also symbolizes water in Tibetan culture.