Tree of Knowledge is a group of three large textile panels created by San Francisco artists Rebecca Herman and Mark Shoffner on display at the Main Library. The vivid hand-dyed panels—hanging in the atrium—invite visitors to come together in community and learning. The textiles depict trees that are stretching and filling the arches in the architecture and Islamic geometric patterns found in an early center for learning in 13th-century Baghdad, Madrasa al-Mustansiriyya. The artworks envision new beginnings in civilization, inspired both by ancient libraries and by the artists' residency at the Main Library in 2019–2020.
Banner image: Rebecca Herman and Mark Shoffner, Tree of Knowledge III (detail), 2021. Hand-dyed linen and printed cotton, 60 x 78 inches.