Praxis of Change displays works by regional artists as well as artists exhibiting for the first time in the region. The exhibition is designed to inspire artistic appreciation and a desire to respond to environmental challenges, the goal of the exhibition is to view art through ecological glasses: How the environment is represented within images and sculptures as well as how the role of humans on Earth is depicted.
There’s a crescendo of interest in both art that is itself in connection with the environment and art that is self-consciously environmental, ultimately drawing attention to anthropogenic global warming. The dialogue between art and our ecological systems surface, where the interconnection of humans and nature can be observed.
Born from the tenacity and hunger to engage with various audiences, the exhibition aims in bringing individuals together outside political affiliation and dive into a different world that allows for more empathy. In conjunction with this passion and desire from artists who grapple with the immensity of environmental degradation, Praxis of Change brings forth the amalgamation of these ideas.
The exhibition is a manifesto stating that saving the planet is a collective effort as well as it demands individual responsibility. Where you are right now and with what you have, there are choices you can make to do your part to save the planet. This is a subject which can be impacted by every single person on Earth. We need to start changing the way we live and focus on a life which aims to help the climate fight, rather than battling against it.
Charbel Samuel Aoun
Aoun is a designer of spatial and multisensory experiences, he gives pride of place to plants, natural and recycled materials, creating a system that both examines and questions social and environmental realities. The works presented in this exhibition invites the viewer to embark on a sensual journey. The rational and the emotional elements of cognitive processes are triggered through a multisensory contact with the material, allowing for a multidimensional encounter with his pieces. Bamboo, pine needles, stones, glass, and wood or some of the materials utilised in his pieces - all reflecting on nature and the relationship that exists between mankind and the earth.
Lappi is interested in observing and examining how architecture and spatial environments influence our perceptions and affect reality. Her sculptures explore the relationship between physical spaces, man-made structures, and the human mind - the psychogeography of places.
Lappi investigates the alienation resulting from the uneasy relationship between human-made world and nature, as well as the resulting feeling of loss and abandonment, by engaging with the natural context and environmental integrity hidden in urban landscapes. By focusing on the environmental aspects of a place, she brings up important discursive questions of how fine art can help us better understand the roots of our culture and contribute to solving the ecological crisis of our time.
Latson’s works are inspired by sea anemones and the motion of a water-bound world, exploring forms that blur the lines between animal and plant, realism and fantasy, sculpture and specimen. Each sculpture aims to reimagine the mystery and complexity of a living organism.
Latson’s work hopes to instill wonder at the significance of the smallest creatures among us and to leave the viewer with a renewed sense of mindfulness towards the delicate balancing act in which we all play a part. By respecting and preserving the biodiversity around us, we respect and preserve ourselves.
Pascal’s series of paintings presented in Praxis of Change reflect on the beauty and everlasting evolution of nature. The paintings reveal the function of symmetry and form within organic subject matter, illustrating this utilisation within our ecological systems as mechanisms to maintain the order of the natural selection process. The cultivation of one’s resources becomes a catalyst to enable the interconnection of humans and nature to remain in flux.
Humans exist within spaces that occupy nature. These paintings reflect on the mediation between the formality of the built environment and the fluidity of existing spaces. Embellishing on the range of artistic practices encompassing both geometric representations of nature and the importance of ecological welfare.
An artist who is constantly pushing the boundaries of available mediums, Rachel Libeskind, draws inspiration from themes both personal and public, creating a body of work that intelligently marries historical and contemporary notions of identity, gender and re-appropriation, creating a situation where social commentary and materiality go side by side.
In Praxis of Change, Libeskind presents us with an installation of words all relating to our planet and environment. The phrases we are confronted with make us question our relationship with the earth and nature, both collectively and individually. “Nature owes you nothing”, “Terror of Territory” and “You are not on Earth” are a few of the encouraging statements within this installation – all engaging the viewer to question the certainty of our future on Earth.
“What is left for us to inhabit in this new terrestrial? To inhabit is fundamentally to inherit– we inhabit what we have inherited – perhaps not from a familial line, but from a cultural or an ecological one. The terror of territory, the terror of bequeathing uninhabitable land, the terror of inheriting nothing. After many lifetimes built up-on the assumption of this birthright and subsistence. Where are we going to land?”
Libeskind believes that there is an importance in raising awareness concerning the notion of inclusion with all living entities, and focusing the intention of her work to be about the experience of humanity alongside nature.
Sahli’s three-dimensional embroidery sculptures and installations are made from recovered plastic waste, which she covers with silk thread. An identifying technique she has developed throughout her artistic career, cultivated with the help of ancestral methods and the women artisans who surround her.
Carried by a universal dimension, Sahli’s artwork is immersed with the theme of nature, which is embedded seemingly everyday. These pieces represent the need for durable progressions in development and also the future of the planet. Sahli encourages viewers to reconsider their role in sustainability and to take on actions such as recycling and reusing.
Sekajugo often deploys his figure as a central character in his painting collages as a metaphor for his multi-ethnicity and to counter the prejudices that accompany such a complex identity shaped by environmental surroundings.
The artist’s technique of recycling locally sourced material like Polypropylene bags in his work is a response to the inclusion of contemporary consumer materials in his art. Conversely, Sekajugo’s collage paintings are symbolic of his relationship with the community: to create a narrative that the public can relate to through working with found objects like denim fabrics and waste paper, initiating conversation on durability and sustainability.
Shehaj is inspired by the complexity that exists in structures of forests within his hometown. The raw earth elements of branches, trees and roots have remained as a persisting symbol in the artist’s mind and work. Through his upbringing surrounded by the natural environment, his work was born.
Shehaj’s series of lines throughout his work illustrate the restlessness and anxiety in the future of the planet, as he has acquired graphic and pictorial styles from a path that makes his own unique language, making it recognizable and iconic. Understanding and synthesizing his own expression and further evolving his artistic communication through these techniques, has enabled Shehaj to initiate dialogue between mediums as well as focusing on raising environmentally conscious awareness.
Valle uses art as an outlet to project the importance of battling against the overexploitation of land, along with the environmental impacts of pollution. Due to the political and ecological tension he witnessed unfold in his hometown Kurcova, Albania, Valle has managed to transform an ‘on the spot’ exploration of a specific area of oilfields, into pieces of work representing this environment.
In Praxis of Change, Valle presents us with three series of work, Earth, Blue and Teddies.
The Earth series (floor installation) is created by collecting the polluted earth from his hometown in Kucova. Through a heating process the artist moulds the oil polluted land into shapes for his installations, shocking the viewer with the reality of an oil polluted land, yet in a beautiful way. The triangular shape represents the wealth pyramid, alluding to the polarity in affluence and livelihood within our society.
The Missing Earth series are created using earth collected by the artist from his journeys around the world. Mixed with oil and painted with natural colors just as masters like Michelangelo used to utilize. This series is inspired by the spatial concept of Lucio Fontana. These works are created to recall the stars and planets in the universe symbolizing our research of approaching and discovering new planets leaving our polluted earth behind.
The Teddies series calls out the uncertainty of life for future generations and our failure to protect them from a polluted world. Eltjon used to play in the backyard of contaminated fields of his home in Kucova and often his toys would sink in the oil as he was totally unaware of the threatening environment surrounding him.
Zemmouri creates polymorphic artwork, through the notions of construction, deconstruction, regeneration and transformation. The artist develops an elaborate work in which natural elements such as water, fire and earth are fused with additional materials such as wood, coal, and dirt, having an essential place in her creations.
The Mother Earth series presented in Praxis of Change, uses an abstract vocabulary to simplify nature’s shapes, the fragility and the thinness of the employed materials give to her artworks a poetical aspect. The medium used by Zemmouri in these works is plowed soil symbolising renewal and regeneration - alluding to the idea of how the future of the Earth is in our hands and needs to be taken care of.