Artists: Otobong Nkanga, Isuma, Anders Sunna & Michiel Brouwer, Simon Gush
Venue: Göteborgs Konsthall, Gothenburg
Exhibition Title: Every Leaf Is an Eye
Date: December 7 – August 30, 2020
Curated By: Stina Edblom, Liv Stoltz
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Göteborgs Konsthall, Gothenburg and Isuma Distribution International. Photos by Hendrik Zeitler and Levy Uttak.
As long as a green blade of grass grows here, the enemy shall meet with resistance on our earth.
Every step I take, I walk in my forefathers’ lives.
Every leaf is an eye.
– Sara Lidman from Varje löv är ett öga (Every Leaf Is an Eye), 1980
Across the world local communities are displaced in conflicts about the right to forests, agricultural land, minerals and watercourses. The group exhibition Every Leaf Is an Eye references this colonial violence, and demonstrates how various local, political and historical events are intimately interconnected in a global struggle for the ways of life threatened by the exploitation of corporations, governments and colonial powers.
The exhibition Every Leaf Is an Eye lends its name from a collection of articles by Swedish author Sara Lidman, and is inspired by its poetic and intimate portrayal of the relationship between local and global freedom struggles. Artists and collectives with different perspectives on the relationship between politics, land, ecology and human rights, present together possible interconnections between such geographical regions as South Africa, Arctic Canada, Sápmi and Namibia.
In engaging with how communities, memories, cultures and lives are impacted by the ravages of exploitation, the exhibition brings contemporary art in relation to collective activism, highlighting the politics of power, violence and justice.
Multi-disciplinary artist Otobong Nkanga, recently named the inaugural winner of the prestigious Lise Wilhelmsen Art Award Programme, presents sculptural work and textiles that examine the violence to nature in countries such as Nigeria and Namibia. The work sheds light on how major industries deplete the land through the excavation of precious rare minerals, which are subsequently transformed into desirable consumer goods. In artists Anders Sunna and Michiel Brouwer’s collaborative work, the mining industry and the ruthless exploitation of the landscape in Sápmi, the Sami people and their history, are at the centre of an extensive new site-specific installation of paintings, murals, photographs and sculpture. The Inuit film collective Isuma, who represented Canada at the 2019 Venice Biennale, presents the film One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk, illuminating the historic trauma of forced relocation of families from an Inuit point of view. The film captures a scene where oppression and resistance meet in a single dialogue, in a seemingly local event with far-reaching and violent implications for Inuit life and culture. Using both a poetic and documentary film language Simon Gush presents a video trilogy exploring his own family’s participation in the colonial appropriation of land, the relationship between land and work as well as the legal land claim process now taking place in the area.