We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.

Jude Rae The white fig (Ficus virens), Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney

oil on linen

149.8 x 260.4 cm

I have been drawing the fig trees of Sydney for the last 18 months. They are everywhere, silently lending an important sense of place, especially to the older parts of the city. Also known as ‘strangler figs’, they can germinate in other trees and eventually overwhelm them. This is not so much a landscape as a portrait of the white fig (Ficus virens) located towards the northern end of the Royal Botanic Garden. Hard to miss due to the astonishing span and girth of its branches, it radiates a presence that seems inadequately conveyed by the word ‘tree’.

Jude Rae, 2022