Take Me to the River Online Exhibition

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All over the world, cultural professionals, artists, architects and designers are grappling with the effects of climate change whilst actively involving their communities. Their work opens up creative spaces that raise awareness of changes in our environment and develop possible solutions to counter the climate crisis. 

Some of these perspectives are now being shown in the Goethe-Institut and the Prince Claus Fund’s multimedia exhibition Take Me to the River, curated by Maya El Khalil. The selected works from Egypt, Ecuador, Colombia, Mexico, Congo and other countries include film, photography, VR video, audio-visual archives and community radio. The exhibition is online now at www.takemetotheriver.net

Since 2018, a joint funding programme by the Goethe-Institut and the Prince Claus Fund has been supporting initiatives that seek cultural and artistic responses to global environmental changes. Around 35 art and culture projects from Africa, Asia, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Eastern Europe have been funded so far. Take Me to the River, a multimedia online presentation, will make 15 of these artworks available to the public. The exhibition is being presented online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Take Me to the River presents the diverse perspectives of the funded projects as a chorus of voices against resource depletion, environmental abuse, and the violation of the rights of indigenous communities. The exhibition is curated by Maya El Khalil, an independent curator and cultural adviser based in Oxford. To weave the individual projects into a story that both illustrates the effects of the climate crisis on people and the environment and shows alternative answers, it pursues five narratives:

Nature is repositioned as a Subject of Rights, presenting works that afford the non-human world renewed subjecthood and respect. Here, the platform emphasises innovations exemplified by recent landmark legal cases as well as critical alternative cosmologies – indigenous belief systems that respect non-human nature as a living being. The Object of Abuse takes an unflinching look at the anguish of nature and the irreparable damage inflicted by exploitative practices. Furthering the narrative of a legal gesture, Nature Prosecutes imagines vengeance. The precarious zones of natural disaster, dwindling resources and increasingly unpredictable circumstances are unmasked as direct results of human action. The cruel and ambivalent effects of the climate emergency are charted in Humanity Sentenced. The online journey reveals rays of hope: The projects collected in Motion to Recover seek new attitudes and empowered solutions to resolve these calamities.

With works by Misha Vallejo (Ecuador), Diana Rico and Richard Decaillet (Columbia),Arko Datto (India), Mohamed Mahdy (Egypt), Gilberto Esparza (Mexico) and others. 

The presentation will be supplemented in the coming months by more funded works and will be available as an online archive in the future.