Latest News

NMIT Artists Exhibit New Take on the Christmas Tree

22 Mar 2013

For many a Christmas tree represents the source of eagerly anticipated (or curiously chosen) Christmas presents but this symbol of the festive season has roots to many older cultures.

The ancient Greeks and Romans used the evergreen tree or Yule tree as a symbol of life, while palm tree branches were used to serve the same purpose for the Ancient Egyptians. An evergreen tree was also a pagan symbol, indicating continuous renewal.

The meaning of the Christmas tree is also open to modern interpretation and NMIT Creative Arts staff members, Dr Colleen Morris and Stephen Pascoe, recently applied their take on the Christmas Tree at an exhibition called 'Christmas heART' which opened on December 14 at the Wyndham Art Gallery in Werribee.

Colleen and Stephen's combined installation entitled Symbol and Metaphor in a Summer Solstice features three trees - a central pine flanked by two 'Water Tree' constructs (see photo on this page). The piece features among the works of 10 other artists' interpretations of the Christmas tree and centres on themes of sustainability, renewal, life and the mapping of river waters and riparian (river bank) growth.

What: 'Christmas heART' - an exhibition of 10 artists' Christmas trees including an installation by NMIT staff, Dr Colleen Morris and Stephen Pascoe.
When: 14 December 2011 - 25 January 2012
Where: Wyndham Art Gallery, Wyndham Cultural Centre, Watton Street, Werribee.

Dr Colleen Morris, Head: Creative Arts department NMIT is an experienced educator and artist. Her art works include installation, sound and mixed media, words and painting; her primary research areas of interest are related to water, ecology and environment. Her work is represented in Public collections of: ARTBANK Australia, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Queensland Art Gallery, Victoria Council for the Arts, Mildura Regional Arts Centre.

Stephen Pascoe, Lecturer in Bachelor of Illustration NMIT, has wide experience in diverse facets of both the Illustration and Design industries over many years. He has a creative interest in Cannibal Books, and was involved in the design and art production of The Dictionary of the Wathawoorroong, an Aboriginal language dictionary and the production of six picture books for the Yirruk-Tinnor Gunnai Languages Program.

Interview / Photo Opportunity

Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener, on (03) 92691579, 0413 483 182 or

NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) - Situated on six campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne's north plus a regional campus at Ararat, NMIT delivers vocational training, higher education and lifelong learning capabilities for a global workforce. NMIT forges partnerships with community, industry and government to produce practical, solution orientated graduates capable of making meaningful contributions to their chosen field of endeavour.

Related News Items