A Draught of the Blue

Minerva Cuevas

HD Video, 2013
Roloff Beny Gallery, ROM Level 4

  • A production still from Minerva Cuevas’ new film A Draught of the Blue. The Latin phrase Omnia sunt communia reminds us that all things are interconnected and held in common.

  • An installation shot of Minerva Cuevas’ new film A Draught of the Blue screening at the Royal Ontario Museum, as part of Carbon 14: Climate is Culture.

  • An installation shot of Minerva Cuevas’ new film A Draught of the Blue screening at the Royal Ontario Museum, as part of Carbon 14: Climate is Culture.

Mexican artist Minerva Cuevas researched and produced her new screen-based work off the coast of Akumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico, an area that is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef system—unique in the Western Hemisphere for its size, biodiversity, and the types of reefs it includes. It is globally important and under severe threat. In addition to the life they support, reefs serve as natural barriers, protecting coastal communities and beaches. Their survival is critical to the economic livelihood of millions of people throughout the world.

In this work, an underwater demonstration becomes a central image for Cuevas, as she explores the possibilities of assuming social rights, capacities, and agency in relation to the present social and environmental crisis.

Cuevas’ analysis centres on the real risk posed by rising sea levels for the coastal populations of the areas of Quintana Roo, Tabasco, Veracruz and Guerrero.


Minerva Cuevas

Minerva Cuevas is a Mexican artist who works across a variety of media including video, installation, and communication technologies. Her socially engaged and site-specific works give insight into the complexities of the economic and political organization of the public sphere and the gaps in its structure. Her work has been extensively exhibited internationally.

Informer Text

Where Malignant Carbon Levels Intersect

Alanna Mitchell
Journalist and author of Sea Sick: The Global Ocean in Crisis

Corals have been around in one form or another for more than half a billion years, sometimes as reef-builders and sometimes as jelly-like free-floaters. The difference between the two has been the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. As carbon rises, the ocean becomes deep, warm, breathless, and sour. That combination means coral reefs dissolve and the animals that build them die off, leaving tiny shreds of meandering coral DNA that will one day, millions of years later, build reefs anew. With luck.

Today, humans are forcing carbon levels so high, so fast that we’re putting corals at risk again. And not just corals. When ocean chemistry is that toxic, life on land and in the sea collapses, too, as it has just five times before.

Multimedia Extras

Audio: Alanna Mitchell

Why Coral Reefs Matter

Alanna Mitchell on the importance of coral (0:01.00)

This Clement World

This Clement World is a fiercely creative and charismatic tribute to our rapidly changing environment, as seen through the prism of Cynthia Hopkins’ deeply personal lens and wild cross-disciplinary style. Performed live with a 15-piece chorus and band, This Clement World blends outlandish fiction and original avant-folk songs with Hopkins’ own documentary footage from an Arctic expedition with Cape Farewell, infusing our global climate crisis with humour, poetics and urgency.

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Day of Dialogue

Participate in an afternoon of high-level balanced presentations and discussion about the impacts of climate change on Inuit communities with leading experts and stakeholders.

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Download the Exhibition Guide

Download your copy of the Carbon 14: Climate is Culture Festival and Exhibition Guide.

Multimedia Extras

View our Multimedia Extras to learn more about the issues behind Carbon 14: Climate is Culture.