November 4 – 17, 2013
Pattison Onestop shopping centre screens across Canada
Curated by Sharon Switzer
Margaret Clegg. Toll Bar Village near Doncaster. UK
An art project with journalistic roots, Drowning World is a long-term global exploration of flooding. It is London, England based artist Gideon Mendel’s response to climate change and the obsessive consumption that drives it. Drowning World asks questions about the places where water meets land in a disruptive way and challenges standard notions of portraiture with the subjects posing conventionally in an unsettling environment.
The images were made in eight different countries: the UK, India, Haiti, Pakistan, Australia, Thailand, Nigeria, and Germany. They bear witness to a shared experience that erases geographical and cultural divides. Created using a set of old Rolleiflex cameras and film, this traditional material slowed down the process, adding a gravitas to the shoot, and a distinctive quality to the images.
The flood is an ancient metaphor with its connotation of water washing away sin, yet some of those most affected by these floods are arguably those least to blame for their cause. As Mendel continues responding to floods in the coming years, his hope is that Drowning World can work as both advocacy and art and have an ongoing and connected life in both of those arenas.
Gideon Mendel is regarded as one of the world’s leading contemporary photographers. He is known for his politically committed, intimate style of image making. Work from different phases of his 28-year career has been shown in major galleries and publications around the world. His first monograph, A Broken Landscape: HIV & AIDS in Africa, was published in 2001. Since then he has produced a number of photographic projects with campaigning organizations such as The Global Fund, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Treatment Action Campaign, The International HIV/AIDS Alliance, Action Aid, The Terrence Higgins Trust, Shelter, Leonard Cheshire Disability, UNICEF and Concern International.