“Resistance After Nature”: An Art Exhibit Exploring Climate Change

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By DIANA POPE, Staff Writer

On Friday, March 17, the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery at Haverford opened its latest exhibit, “Resistance After Nature”, which focuses on the cultural, environmental, and political effects of environmental degradation.

The exhibit includes a mix of photographs, paintings, sculptures, videos, and maps that offer perspectives on both the cultural and scientific aspects of climate change.

A set of paintings by artist Haley Hughes are the focal point of the exhibit, featuring cartoon-like figures and bright shades of red, blue, and green. Hughes sought to use his paintings to produce a fictional universe centered around collaboration between humans, animals, and an “awakened earth”.

In Hughes’s painting “Oligarchy”, two demons are posed at a dinner table eating a globe with forks and knives, while a cat observes the ominous scene in the background. The painting offers a dire warning about climate change- if something does not change, then North America will be consumed in chaos and flames.

Hughes also created a long mural entitled “Climate Refugees NYC”. The artist depicts New York City in an utter state of societal turmoil as the landscape falls into disarray from environmental pollution. Observers can witness the Statue of Liberty burning in the Hudson Bay and families carrying carts of clothes and personal items to evacuate the state. Political activists can be seen traversing around the edges of the paintings, carrying degraded signs and wearing tie-dye clothing.

Along with these paintings, the exhibit includes various films that show the negative outcomes of environmental pollution through a more realistic medium. Artist Maria Theresa Alves produced a video called “Time, Trade, and Surplus Value” that shows clips of discarded clothes floating off the coast of Senegal. Although Alves’s primary purpose was to show the outcomes of water pollution, she also wanted to portray the desperation of political refugees who are fleeing from the coast of Africa. This video explores the complex and varied relationships that humans have with their environment.

Observers can also find a small exhibition by the Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action that displays a variety of polluted marine plastics. These plastic samples were collected on a number of shorelines throughout Newfoundland, and come in a wide array of shapes and colors. Although these samples are hard to discern, the exhibition includes a series of magnified  images, helping viewers to fully appreciate the qualities of these plastics.

The exhibit will be open through April 28 at the Cantor-Fitzgerald Gallery at Haverford College. Exhibit hours are Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., weekends 12 to 5 p.m. and Wednesdays until 8 p.m.

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