A costume in willow and hemp string was used in the short film I Am a Forest. This DIY approach was followed by more formal training in willow weaving, generously supported by the Arts Council.


Tlapitzali means ‘little/dear flute’ in the Mesoamerican language nāhuatl. Drawing from Elida Maiques’ family roots, research was focused on musical anthropology and archaeology in Guatemala, València and Ireland. Practical research included the production of a series of ceramic aerophones, tlapitzali, with technical support by Kathleen Moroney and Derek Larkin (IADT). Tlapitzali, Irish bones and claves were the musical instruments finally used in a filmed forest performance in Bhré/Bray.

Performance Becomes Short Film

In September 2021 a small team filmed on location in Bray Head. The film, also titled I Am a Forest is in post-production in 2022. The film’s core project are artist Elida Maiques and cinematographer Anna Soler Cepriá (both co-producers & co-directors), sound designers Jorge Alba and Ruaidhrí O’Sullivan, musician Samuel Arnold Keane and performer Danaë Wollen. The cast & crew was completed by an excellent, dedicated team. A Mexican-Spanish-Irish co-production generously funded by Instituto Cervantes the Arts Council of Ireland and IADT. Official Selection of the Morelia Film Festival 2022.

Mexican poster for I Am a Forest, Official Selection 20th Morelia Film Festival, Mexico
Still from I Am a Forest – reflection upon reflection
Still from I Am a Forest – attentive ear
Still from I Am a Forest – hometree

Birdsong partitures

Listening, recording and devising a musical notation system to communicate birdsong to humans was part of the research. This work was exhibited at the LAB Gallery, Dublin, 2022, as a direct pencil drawing on the wall.

School/home/art collaboration

In 2017-2018 we distributed over 1,200 seeds to primary and secondary school children, in collaboration with St. Fergal’s and St. Killian’s local schools in Bray. While these seeds became seedlings, this project ‘played no small part in’ Self-Help Africa’s school & trees project, https://selfhelpafrica.org/onemilliontrees/schools/.

[I Am a Forest] played no small part in inspiring our own tree planting campaign and has been replicated successfully in over 450 schools across Ireland. Now, supported by the INTO, primary schools are planting native trees across Ireland, and supporting communities to plant tens of thousands of new trees in Uganda, Kenya, Senegal and Malawi.

Martha Hourican, Director of Business Development, Self Help Africa

Tree propagation

Tree propagation through seeds and cuttings is core to the project. These trees are raised locally in Bhré (Bray), then planted in several locations across Wicklow. These cuttings and seedlings are all Irish indigenous species supporting hundreds of insects, birds, fungus and other life forms. These are mainly hawthorn, blackthorn, oak, Scots pine, elder, hazel, willow, with the addition of Spanish chestnut trees.

Wax rhapsodic exhibition

The project was presented in the collective show Wax rhapsodic, The LAB Gallery, Dublin, January 2022. Curated by Astrid Newman. This show displayed work from graduate students of the MA in Art + Research Collaboration, Dún Laoghaire IADT.