By Mathieu Sly | NGC Magazine |
This year 22 April is both Earth Day and Throw Back Thursday, so it is an ideal opportunity to reflect back upon a powerful exhibition presented at the National Gallery of Canada in 2018: Anthropocene. When I came to see the exhibition, it was as a visitor and I had not done any research, showing up instead with the approach “What are we doing today?” I was immediately confronted with images of a world seen from above, and this world was being consumed by our appetites – by my appetites. Although these images clearly left an imprint on my mind, I all too quickly slid back into the distractions of normal life. That is, until our current global health crisis.
Anthropocene presented works by the collective of Canadian artists comprising photographer Edward Burtynsky and filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier. These striking images, videos and augmented-reality sculptures invited reflection on the ethics of humanity’s exploitation of Earth’s resources. As the exhibition’s co-curator Sophie Hackett commented, we were “confronted with a world we inhabit but cannot easily see.” The artists captured it in such a way that we could see. And how could the viewer not pause when looking at these images?
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