Rights of Nature is a journey across art and ecology in the Americas. Through the work of twenty artists, the exhibition focuses on our current environmental crisis, at once ecological, economic, political, and cultural.
Facing catastrophic climate change and environmental destruction, modern society appears locked in crisis. In recent years, viewing Earth as an infinite supply of natural resources to be freely exploited by multinational corporate capitalism has, however, been increasingly challenged, and today, the rights of nature to subsist in a state free from destructive human practices are increasingly being recognized in environmental law as a means to save our fragile existence.
The research-exhibition aims to explore how an international grouping of artists and activists have participated in this transformation in their diverse practices and conceptual engagements. How have they considered these questions, advanced their own analyses, and produced creative modelings that express the fundamental principles of rights that transcend human subjects?
North and South America, in particular, are sites of intense activity, linking ecologically-concerned artists, political activists and indigenous people to new legal initiatives. Recent philosophical developments are also rethinking the relationship between human and non-human life.
Rights of Nature traces the cultural resonances of eco-centric legal developments, Amerindian cosmologies referring to Pachamama (Quechua and Aymara for “Mother Earth”), and speculative object-oriented philosophy—not in order to retain the outdated concept of a pure realm apart from the human, but rather to register a new conception of nature located within indigenous rights struggle, Earth law, and political ecology.
The exhibition includes Subhankar Banerjee‘s epic photographs of migratory caribou in northern Alaska, Fernando Palma Rodríguez‘s animatronic Monarch butterflies, restoring life to a threatened species, Abel Rodriquez‘s exquisite drawings of plants, recording indigenous environmental knowledge passed down through generations, and Paulo Nazareth‘s delicate installations of materials collected during his journey, on foot, between Belo Horizonte and New York City.
- Marcos Avila Forero, A Tarapoto, Un Manati, 2011. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Dohyang Lee, Pari
- Amy Balkin, Public Smog, 2004-2014, video; Courtesy of the artist