May 22, 2011

The Wall Project: High Street, Oxford

In this second installment of The Wall Project, where I feature the walls that I have photographed in a bid to understand the canvases they unwittingly become, I present this particular wall that I spotted at High Street, Oxford.

During the time I pursued my Masters there, I remember christening one particular tree on the High Street as The Cherry Blossom tree; of course, there were numerous cherry trees across Oxford but I happened to see this one first and found it deserving of the rather grand capital initials. Having grown up in Oman and been largely familiar with cherry blossom trees only through the famous cherry blossom spring-time pictures in Japan, I was simply in thrall of the tree and must have several images of the tree in full bloom in my possession.

This picture was taken several years after though when I had gone to attend my graduation ceremony at Oxford; the wall happens to face the tree, still in full leaf of the summer. I was there in late September, a couple weeks before the term began and was curious as to what the Horatio represented. Hamlet's friend? Sure, there is also an image of a man playing a musical instrument stenciled below the Horatio, prompting me to wonder if it was a clever marketing tool for a musical event: marketing graffiti? Whatever it was, I cannot help but also think of the tree that stands in its vicinity on seeing this picture: its leafy branches shadow-patterning the walls, the tree invisible and yet not.

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