Art and Hope in a Time of Crisis
Hayward Gallery, London
21 June - 3 September 2023
Gaia Art Foundation is thrilled to support the public programme for Dear Earth: Art and Hope in a Time of Crisis from 21 June to 3 September 2023 at the Hayward Gallery, London.
This pioneering group show of artistic responses to the climate emergency explores themes of care, hope, interdependence, emotional and spiritual connection, and activism. Dear Earth: Art and Hope in a Time of Crisis is inspired by artist Otobong Nkanga’s suggestion that "caring is a form of resistance’' The exhibition highlights the ways in which artists are helping to reframe and deepen our psychological and spiritual responses to the climate crisis, hoping to inspire joy and empathy as well as promoting a sense of political and social activism.
Featuring engaging and impactful works in a diverse range of media, including public artworks outside the gallery space, this exhibition includes artists Ackroyd & Harvey, Andrea Bowers, Imani Jacqueline Brown, Agnes Denes, John Gerrard, Cristina Iglesias, Aluaiy Kaumakan, Jenny Kendler, Richard Mosse, Otobong Nkanga, Cornelia Parker, Himali Singh Soin, Hito Steyerl, Daiara Tukano and Grounded Ecotherapy.
Dear Earth is an integral part of the Southbank Centre's broader summer season of work centred around the climate emergency, encompassing various interdisciplinary art forms including: performance, literature, poetry, spoken word and classical and contemporary music. Through its focus on empathy and activism, the exhibition aims to inspire and empower individuals to take meaningful steps in addressing the urgent environmental challenges we face.
Wednesday 30 August, 5pm
Hayward Gallery, London
To celebrate the run of the Dear Earth exhibition, Hayward Gallery and Gaia Art Foundation invite you to an evening of interactive performances and conversations. The
intention behind this Closing Ritual is to spark enduring dialogue among climate activists, artists, art professionals and the public, focusing on the role art can play in addressing the climate emergency.
Outline of the evening:
5.00pm: Time to visit the exhibition
5.45pm: Culinary performance by Cherry Truluck.
The evening starts with Out of Time, an artistic culinary performance by Cherry Truluck. Under the Super Blue Moon, this glimpse of Truluck's "The Animist Almanac" research explores oat cultivation and temporal rhythms in farming. The project collaborates with biologists, chefs, farmers, and printmakers, highlighting the dialogue between food, body, and land.
6.15pm: Welcome from Rachel Thomas, Cornelia Parker and Victoria Siddall.
Rachel Thomas, Chief Curator of the Hayward Gallery, opens the evening in the company of Dear Earth exhibiting artist Cornelia Parker and Sustainability Strategic Advisor Victoria Siddall. Together, they explore Cornelia's art and Victoria's role in the Gallery Climate Coalition, delving into policies, art's influence and practical industry advancements for sustainability.
6.45pm: Artist Heather Ackroyd is in conversation with Helene Schulze, Destiny Boka-Batesa and Julian Lahai-Taylor.
The evening continues around Agnes Denes's iconic Living Pyramid, with a conversation between artist Heather Ackroyd (Ackroyd & Harvey) and three dedicated environmental activists: Helene Schulze, the driving force behind London Freedom Seed Bank, is at the forefront of building an urban seed commons. Her collective provides climate-resilient seeds grown in London, fostering biodiversity through accessible distribution. Destiny Boka-Batesa, co-founder of Choked Up, directs her passion towards raising awareness about the critical intersection of air pollution and environmental racism. Julian Lahai-Taylor from Grow Lewisham leads a collective on a mission to enhance access to local land, cultivate organic produce, and revitalise depleted soil. Rooted in environmental activist Vandana Shiva’s call to reclaim 'the commons', this conversation will focus on the intersections of art and activism, and reconnection to nature.
7.30pm: Performance by Love Ssega
Following the conversation, multidisciplinary artist Love Ssega will present a new sound and movement-based performance, titled The Chapters of Hope. Specially commissioned for the Dear Earth Closing Ritual, this performance offers an exploration of the necessity for hope, transformation, and resilience during times of ecological crisis. Chapters of Hope continues the artistic questioning initiated by the exhibition, created in the midst of a climate emergency, to inspire both urgency but also optimism in a continuation of Love Ssega’s practice.
8pm: Alice Aedy is in conversation with Andy Holden, Cher Potter and Cliodhna Murphy.
Alice Aedy, Co-Founder and CEO of Earthrise, leads this panel focusing on the need for storytelling and collaboration across sectors to tackle the climate crisis. She is joined by Hauser & Wirth’s Global Head of Environmental Sustainability Cliodhna Murphy, artist Andy Holden and Cher Potter, the Curatorial Director of Future Observatory at the Design Museum.
8.40pm: 20-minute mindfulness session inspired by Agnes Denes’ Living Pyramid with Ellen Mara De Wachter.
The evening concludes with a meditative yoga nidra, or yogic sleep, experience led by art historian and yoga teacher Ellen Mara De Wachter. This meditation invites you to embrace a moment of collective presence, self-reflection, and connection.
Cherry Truluck (her/she)’s edible artworks, risograph prints and performative feasts traverse art, food, biology, agroecology and storytelling. Through long-term artistic research, Truluck explores perceptions of temporality, cyclical intersections and metabolism as levers for transformation in the way human bodies connect to the land. Based between rural Somerset and the University of Aberystwyth (IBERS), Truluck’s transdisciplinary and often collaborative work currently focuses on cereal crops, oats in particular. Through a close study of these seemingly ordinary plants, narratives develop that weave together cultural, social and historic threads, re-imagining the notion of the Rural and seeking hopefulness in times of ecological crisis.
Heather Ackroyd (her/she) is a visual artist who has worked collaboratively with Dan Harvey since 1990. The artist duo makes inter-disciplinary works that reference memory / time, nature / culture and political ecologies. Their time-based practice with living plant material evolves through extended research into local ecologies and anthropogenic climate change. They have received many international awards for their biochemical photographic photosynthesis work and have been widely commissioned for their monumental living architectural interventions. Exhibitions include: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston (2023); 23RD Biennale of Sydney (2022); Royal Academy of Arts, (2022); Somerset House, London (2022); Tate Modern, London (2021); The Ashmolean, Oxford (2018); ARoS Triennial, Denmark (2017); The David Attenborough Building, Cambridge (2016) and more. In 2019, they co-initiated Culture Declares Emergency in response to the climate and ecological crisis.
Helene Schulze (her/she) is part of the collective behind the London Freedom Seed Bank, a grassroots urban seed network, stewarding over 170 London-grown vegetable, herb and flower varieties. She is also doing a PhD exploring the urban seed commons. She is interested in the ways seed savers, particularly of migrant heritage, subvert a long colonial and xenophobic regime which has dominated (and profited from) the international movement of plant material. Helene is the editor of The Preserve Journal and part of the Garden of Earthly Delights, a guerrilla gardening collective. She is interested in mutual aid, particularly from feminist, anticolonial, antiracist and indigenous perspectives, and how working with seeds can help us build more just and care-full futures.
Destiny “Beau” Boka-Bates (they/them), is the co-founder of Choked Up, a campaign that shines a light on the socioeconomic side of climate justice. They centre their activism on the issue on air pollution, and how it disproportionately effects Black and brown communities. Within the three years of the campaign, the Choked Up team have participated in guerilla campaigns, spoken in COP26, and worked with multiple (climate) activists and organisations in the fight for climate justice. Outside activism, they are a spoken word poet, and they are going into their third year of their French degree in Lincoln College, Oxford.
Julian Lahai-Taylor (He/him) works with Grow Lewisham, a collective committed to improving access to local land, growing organic food and restoring degraded soil across the borough. Grow Lewisham inspires regenerative and sustainable cultures and practices across Lewisham by restoring degraded soil biodiversity, encouraging organic practices, biodiversity, cyclical and zero waste systems across our sites. They develop and increase regenerative growing spaces across the borough to ensure all Lewisham residents have access to these spaces locally, so we can educate, feed and strengthen our communities.
Alice Aedy (her/she) is a documentary photographer, film-maker and campaigner focused on telling human stories of those on the frontlines of the climate crisis, refugee crisis and the fight for women’s rights. She has always been fascinated by the power of storytelling - to shape our experiences and to give meaning to our existence. To understand the impact of storytelling we only need to look back through history to see how stories have shaped our lives: how we live them, why we live them and what it means to be human. It is also through stories that we dare to imagine a better world.She believes if we harness optimism and imagination, with the most powerful tool we have - communication - we can build the world we so urgently need. Through my own work I have hoped to inform, inspire and create change.
Andy Holden (he/him) is an artist whose work includes sculpture, large installations, painting, music, performance, animation and multi-screen videos. His work is often defined by very personal starting points used to arrive at more abstract, or universal philosophical questions. His works can be found in the permanent collections of Tate Gallery, Leeds Art Gallery, Bristol Museum, Arts Council Collection and Zabludowicz Collection in the UK and various collections in Europe. Andy often teams up with his father, the ornithologist Peter Holden, to explore the politics of collecting and classification and the relationship between human activity and animal behaviour. For his public sculpture for Wakefield, The Auguries: Last Calls, Andy identified a number of birds native to the British Isles that are in rapid decline. He transformed recordings of the birds’ songs into sculptures based on the shapes of the sound waves. The sculptures are cast in bronze and you can hear the bird song through the QR code, as well as find out more about the birds. The artwork is called Auguries because ancient Romans used birds to predict the future. Augur means to portend a good or bad outcome, or to foretell.
Victoria Siddall (her/she) is a Strategic Advisor to museums and businesses and an international advocate for a more sustainable art world. She was previously Global Director of Frieze and is now a non-executive director. In 2020, Victoria was part of the founding team of Gallery Climate Coalition - a charity and membership organisation for the art world which has over 900 members in 42 countries, all of whom have committed to a 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. She is a Trustee of Gallery Climate Coalition and works with environmental charities on strategy, advocacy and fundraising. Victoria is Chair of the Board of Studio Voltaire, a Trustee of the Ampersand Foundation and was recently appointed a Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery.
Love Ssega (they/them) is a London-born multidisciplinary performing artist of Ugandan descent. In 2022-23 he was Philharmonia Orchestra Artist in Residence, debuting his new climate refugee-focussed production PANGEA: Act 1. He has created site-specific performances and work for the National Gallery, Serpentine Pavilion, Whitechapel Gallery and MoMA PS1. Love Ssega has toured globally as a musician, both solo and as founding lead vocalist and songwriter of Clean Bandit. Having started the community arts and clean air awareness project, LIVE + BREATHE, in South London, Love Ssega features in Dear Earth as one of Ackroyd & Harvey’s living portraits.
Ellen Mara De Wachter (her/she) is a writer based in London. She is a YTT 200hr yoga teacher andLevel 1 iRest Yoga Nidra Meditation teacher. In 2020 she developed the course ‘Cultivating Creativity with Yoga’, which she has taught to artists and arts professionals in organisations including SPACE Studios, Central Saint Martins, and to artists on the London Creative Network. Her forthcoming book, ‘More Than The Eyes: Art, Food and the Senses’, will be published by Atelier Éditions in 2024. She is the author of ‘Co-Art: Artists on Creative Collaboration’ (Phaidon, 2017), which explores the phenomenon of collaboration in the visual arts and its potential in society at large, and she is a regular contributor to books and publications about contemporary art and culture, including Art Monthly, Art Quarterly and The World of Interiors. She is a mentor to artists and writers and a Relational Dynamics 1 st Coach.
Cher Potter (she/her): Curatorial Director of Future Observatory at the Design Museum. Future Observatory is the Design Museum’s national research programme for the green transition. Acting as both a coordinating hub for a nationwide programme, as well as a research department within the museum, Future Observatory curates exhibitions, programmes events and funds and publishes new research, all with the aim of championing new design thinking on environmental issues.
Cliodhna Murphy (she/her) is Hauser & Wirth’s Global Head of Environmental Sustainability and is instrumental in developing and implementing the gallery’s climate action plan and commitment to halve the gallery’s carbon emissions by 2030. With over 15 years’ experience in the art world, Murphy has worked in project management and operations roles for a number of UK galleries and organisations, including Frieze Fairs and Tate. Murphy joined Hauser & Wirth in 2017 as Director of Operations based in London and, as part of that role, led the gallery’s carbon footprint calculation initiative. Murphy has written on Science Based Target Initiative for the GCC (Gallery Climate Coalition) here and in addition is a volunteer for several GCC initiatives.
Cornelia Parker: Cornelia Parker is a sculptor and installation artist working in a wide variety of media, frequently featuring destructive amalgamations of household objects that have been layered, broken, or repurposed into new structures. Her work has been the focus of numerous solo exhibitions around the world, including at Serpentine Gallery in London, ICA Boston and the Galleria d'Arte Moderna in Turin. She is the recipient of numerous awards, notably being shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1997.
Activism and Art
Friday 23 June, 7pm
Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall
Hayward Gallery Chief Curator Rachel Thomas chairs a panel of three artists featured in Dear Earth: Imani Jacqueline Brown, Jenny Kendler and Daiara Tukano. The conversation digs into the relationship between activism and art making, how the two inform each other and the boundaries between them.
Caring is a Form of Resistance
Saturday 29 July, 7pm
Level 5 Function Room, Green Side, Royal Festival Hall
Artist Otobong Nkanga and author Irenosen Okojie discuss their use of myth-making to tackle themes of extraction of the body and land, memory, care and repair.
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue with newly commissioned essays by curator Rachel Thomas and scholars Maja and Reuben Fowkes that investigate the theme of radical care and the history of climate-concerned art. As well as texts on the artists featured in the exhibition, the catalogue includes a compendium of texts featuring a range of voices from the worlds of art, climate activism and philosophy, offering new perspectives on the art and artists in the show.
Dear Earth:Art and Hope in a Time of Crisis is curated by Chief CuratorRachel Thomas with Assistant Curators Marie-Charlotte Carrier and ThomasSutton, and Curatorial Assistants Debbie Meniru and Anusha Mistry. The exhibition is generously supported by Simon Morris and Annalisa Burello.