Imagining Climate Change at Hot Water

Two environmentally-focussed exhibitions will feature as part of GIPCA’s  Hot Water symposium on climate change, which will take place at UCT’s Hiddingh Campus 28-29 September 2012. Facing the Climate, curated by Ann-Marie Tully, and Simon Max Bannister’s EKDUO will be exhibited at Michaelis Galleries until 13 October.

The Facing the Climate exhibition series combines climate-themed cartoons by five Swedish artists, with the climate-related artworks of artists in host countries. In this case five South African cartoonists join five Swedish cartoonists in taking a sharp look at the climate issue, with the aim of encouraging discussion about the sustainable society and heightening awareness of current environmental problems. Facing the Climate has been staged in a number of international contexts, with exhibitions taking place during 2012 in Rio, Athens, Tirana, Tel Aviv and Novosibirsk amongst other cities around the world. The Facing the Climate exhibition in South Africa is curated by Ann-Marie Tully, in association with the Swedish Embassy of South Africa.

Facing the Climate is part of a concerted drive, conceptualised by the Swedish Institute, to promote critical sustainable development under the heading Facing the Future – Sustainability the Swedish Way. The impetus behind this began in December 2009 in relation to the Copenhagen Climate Conference, when a group of 25 Nordic newspaper cartoonists provided some amusing and alarming reflections on climate change. To illustrate Sweden’s active involvement in this area, the Swedish Institute developed the exhibition Facing the Climate in collaboration with the Swedish cartoonists/illustrators Magnus Bard, Helena Lindholm and Riber Hansson. At Michaelis Galleries these artists will be joined by fellow Swedish artists Love Antell and Karin Sunvisson in commenting on the global climate dilemma. The South African cartoonists/illustrators involved in this project are Tony Grogan, Wilson Mgobhozi, Ree Treweek, Sifiso Yalo and Zapiro.

The Facing the Climate exhibition is accompanied by a workshop, bringing participants together with the South African cartoonists and the exhibition curator in an interactive event that considers and enacts the communicative and cathartic potential of cartoons. These simultaneously critical and humorous visual devices have the potential to bring viewers and makers into more intimate and comprehensible relations with the often titanic narratives of climate change. The workshop takes places on Friday 28 September from 14:00 – 16:00 at Michaelis Galleries and attendance is free of charge.

The second exhibition at Michaelis Galleries, EKDUO, features an installation by environmental artist Simon Max Bannister. Inspired in his endeavours by the regenerative processes of nature, Bannister has been hunting plastic litter for four years. His search has taken him from the streets of Johannesburg, down the rivers and coastlines of South Africa, into the open ocean; creating art that uses the menace as the medium.

EKDUO (from the ancient Greek, meaning “to put off the body, the clothing of the soul”),  represents a longing to shed our skin, to be rid of excess and the obsolete. “In moulting lies destruction and creation, concepts central to all life. The snake’s transformation in moulting reflects a need for entropy and rebirth – observing this has the potential to start a process of transformation within ourselves, adapting this shedding behaviour to our own culture. The symbolic moulting of a snake in this exhibition becomes a challenge to detach and innovate, to recreate new forms of consumption and being within culture” comments Bannister.

Facing the Climate and EKDUO open at 18:00 on Friday 28 September in Hiddingh Hall, and will run until Saturday 13 October 2012 at Michaelis Galleries.  Opening hours are Tuesdays – Fridays 11:00 to 16:00 and Saturdays 10:00 to 13:00, or by appointment. The Facing the Climate workshop is free, but booking is essential. Workshop bookings and all exhibition queries should be directed to nadja.daehnke@uct.c.za or 021 480 7170.

Hot Water will take place at Hiddingh Hall, UCT Hiddingh Campus, Orange Street, Cape Town from 28 – 29 September 2012. The symposium is free and open to all, but booking is essential. For further information and bookings, contact the GIPCA office on 021 480 7156  or fin-gipca@uct.ac.za. Download the updated Hot Water 2012 programme.

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