points of return

In 2021 A La Luz have asked me to be part of a selecting panel proposing four artists from an inspiring short list of artists whose work deals with the climate emergency. Twenty five selected artists were included in an online exhibition that a year later took physical shape at the Umbrella Arts Centre, US as part of Points of Return project. Points of Return references the fact that we are close but have not yet reached the dreaded “point of no return.” There are still opportunities for our civilisation to curb climate change and move toward a balanced, more sustainable and harmonious way of inhabiting Earth. Artists are in a unique position in being able to creatively present scientific findings in an accessible manner by raising vital awareness, offering their audiences entry points, and inspiring collaboration and communal action.

It was a privilage and inspiration to be part of this journey. Here I share my correspondence about how four artists from the excellent shortlist caught my attention.

Adam Sébire

Adam Sébire | In the Heat of the Moment (2020) | Thermographic photographs | image courtesy of A La Luz and the artist

Sébire’s ‘AnthropoSene I: Breakdown’ hit me to a halt when I was asked to consider this amazing shortlist of artists. Staying with the work, I become fascinated with how the art, the environmental statement, and the artist flow seamlessly. Beyond going to any lengths for his art, Sébire does it in true correspondence with the environment. The concept, the subject, the object, and the execution coexist harmoniously in an inclusive manner accessible to anyone who is able to sit still and consider. His lateral approach is fresh and gives me hope in human nature once more.

Ulrika Sparre

Ulrika Sparre | Racetrack (scene from Ear to the Ground) | Film still - Ear to the Ground: Wandering Rocks (2020) | Short film | 09:04" | image courtesy of A La Luz and the artist

I am drawn to Sparre’s mandate in ‘giving voice to non-human actors’. Her work ‘Ear to the Ground’ has drawn me to the seemingly contradictory fact that, as Sparre puts it - ‘there is a “nature” that exists apart from us’ with Tim Ingold’s stance that ‘non-human entities of all sorts can enter into relations with one another, and even hold meanings for one another, which do not depend in the slightest on how they are used or perceived by humans, or even on any human presence at all’ (Ingold, 2021, p.5) Sparre’s work invites me to stop the protagonist human role and take on the spectator role. It goes beyond the more obvious living natural things to the seemingly lifeless rock beneath my feet. And at once I feel connected to something bigger than me.

Miguel Jeronimo

Miguel Jeronimo | Jungle on my mind | Mr. Rith, 39, Former Poacher turned Ranger | photograh courtesy of A La Luz and the artist

There is something about a story and being human. Camouflaged in reflected forests, these individuals with their stories become a true part of their environment in a manner that is simple and effective. The redemptory element in these stories invite me to consider my own metanoia through an artistic medium and a vagabond voice that does not depend on a consumeristic market or the academy.

David Elligsen

David Elligsen | 2020 Wildfires, Trajectory Interrupted (2020) | Edition of 5 | Pigment ink on cotton rag | photograh courtesy of A La Luz and the artist

Elligsen’s photograhy I find truly stunning. To the point that one is arrested at the sinister provocation behind these works. Elligsen’s minimal intervention draws attention to a shifting context that simultaneously forms part of his method as well as subject matter. The dichotomy of something beautiful walking hand in hand with the ugly truth is a reality with which I am yet again invited to halt, think, re-think, and change.


All artwork © Joseph Calleja | Please do not download, reproduce or share without permission

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