Last week the Colèchi team were invited to take a day trip to the Hayward Gallery, across the river from our workspace at Somerset House, to visit Dear Earth. Dear Earth is a collaborative exhibition featuring the work of 15 artists around the world and their response to Climate change. Each room non-identical to the other, taking you into the minds of the creators personal approach, research and thought patterns – inspired by the artist Otobong Nkanga’s suggestion that ‘caring is a form of resistance’ – gathers paintings, sculptures, and short films that revolve around our environment as well as explore our emotional connection to nature. We walked through the earths elements, explored the disappearance of the wetlands in Louisiana; oil spills at the Amazon Basin and the two acres of wheat-field sown on a landfill site in New York; with light touch moments including interviews and thoughts from primary school children; a colourful LED screen made from bottles and sitting in a cube with water passing beneath our feet to demonstrate the nature under our roads. Featuring the works of Imani Jacqueline Brown’s; Anges Denes; Cornelia Parker and more.
We agreed that addressing the climate crisis is an individual and personal act, there is something small we can all do to connect, nurture and involve ourselves daily. Each member of the team wrote a short piece starting with Dear Earth…
We’ve been deaf to your screams
Blind to your tears
Numb to your rage
For far too long
It’s time to learn the language of our ancestors
and answer your call.
You may have got this before but you are very complex. You are very very beautiful but oh so ‘effing complex. You’re not going to like this, but you are a LOT to handle sometimes. I’m not trying to make excuses for myself, I’m just saying I can never understand you in your entirety – but that’s a me problem, not a you problem. You don’t have a beginning or an end, yet you began it all and you can end it all too. You don’t deserve the same rights as me, you deserve the ultimate right. Long-story-short, you’re an amorphous deity and a little out of my league.
All my love,
As I’m walking around and taking in the relationship that others have with nature, I’m forced to stop and think about how I’ve internalised my relationship with you. I think earth, dirt, mud. Being a kid and saving the ladybirds. Camping with grass and massive tree branches as furniture. Buying cheap seeds, or saving leftover seeds from artificial supermarket fruits and vegs as an attempt to grow my own.
How can our relationship be better, Earth? Maybe if I knew you more. If I could truly tell a poisonous plant from food – forage well. Signs of pollution and health, observe my area. Study remedies and exchange resources. Know when you’re hurting and healing and harvest time, and if you do the same. Maybe we will get to know each other well.
My first vegan teacher encouraged us all to hug trees. We all laughed and made fun because we were 10 and 11, but she was strict (the least laid-back environmentalist I know) so we eventually hugged trees too. My friends felt ridiculous but I felt them hug back.
Thank you for holding me. I wish we were all more careful holding you back.
I love the outdoors but I get hayfever. I’ve never been that connected with water, but I love a long shower. I’m a product of industrialism, I went to school to learn how to succeed through human dialogue, how to enter skyrises and spend my days selling my labour through a machine. I lost touch with who you are yet every time a migraine hits you give me comfort. I didn’t know how bad the situation was with soil, I know how much you give but didn’t realise how much you gave. I see now that we’re the same.