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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Education and Training and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Rod Welford

    Sacred bodhi tree expands Cultural Centre landscape

    Minister for Education and Training and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Rod Welford

    Thursday, May 01, 2008

    Sacred bodhi tree expands Cultural Centre landscape

    Arts Minister Rod Welford today unveiled the latest addition to the Cultural Centre precinct, a public art project with ancient links to Buddhism, called the Bodhi Tree Project.

    Mr Welford attended a blessing for the newly-planted bodhi tree, which has direct lineage to India’s original bodhi tree, or ‘Tree of Life’.

    “This event marks the culmination of a long-term collaboration between Taiwanese artist Lee Mingwei, Brisbane’s Chung Tian Temple and our Government,” Mr Welford said.

    “The Bodhi Tree Project is a public art project, conceived by Lee Mingwei, as part of our our Government’s $291 million redevelopment of the Cultural Centre in 2006.

    “The small sapling which arrived in Australia at that time has been growing to a suitable size for planting in a nursery up until this week.

    “Mingwei developed the Bodhi Tree Project specifically for the space near the entrance to the Gallery of Modern Art.

    “The bodhi tree, sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists, is the oldest depicted tree in Indian art and literature and is described as the mythical ‘Tree of Life’.

    “This bodhi tree has direct lineage to the original tree in the Indian state of Bihar where Sddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, is said to have achieved enlightenment.”

    Mr Welford said the Bodhi Tree Project was a significant addition to Queensland’s rich cultural tapestry.

    “Through this project visitors will be able to develop a broader understanding of other cultures and communities, as well as nature and the environment,” he said.

    “And the tree will be in good company at the Cultural Centre, joining another iconic tree on the site – the historic poinciana tree located between the State Library and the Brisbane River is estimated to be over 100 years old and believed to be the oldest poinciana on public land."

    As part of today’s blessing the Minister declared the area in which the Bodhi Tree Project is located will now be known as the Bodhi Tree Terrace.

    The blessing coincides with the eve of the 12th annual Buddha Birth Day Festival taking place at South Bank from 2 to 4 May.

    Media contact: Emma Clarey on 3237 1000