The exhibition (27 January–31 May 2020) explores the contemporary legacy of the long movement of people, things, and ideas across the Indian Ocean.
The open and plural societies of the Indian Ocean world came under threat from the mid-twentieth century when decolonization created new nation-states that were divided, at times, by hastily erected borders. Today, these borders are losing their meanings as the Indian Ocean’s waters rise; global warming does not respect human-made divisions.
Indian Ocean Current probes complex and vexing questions, including: How do artists working in a variety of media make sense of the great mixing of peoples in the region’s past and present? How do they conceive of the water that linked distant shores? How do they address the borders that divide spaces that for so long were undivided? What do the rising ocean waters resulting from global warming portend for the future of the Indian Ocean and, most importantly, for its inhabitants? In the exhibition, artistic narratives are in conversation with the findings of scientists as animations, maps, films, and interviews illuminate the unusual geology of the Indian Ocean and the myriad, catastrophic effects of climate change in that region and across the globe.
Indian Ocean Current: Six Artistic Narratives features videos, collages, paintings, sculptures, interactive installations, and photographs by renowned artists Shiraz Bayjoo, Nicholas Hlobo, Shilpa Gupta, Wangechi Mutu, Penny Siopis, and Hajra Waheed – whose deep ties to the lands surrounding the Indian Ocean inform their work.
Image: Wangechi Mutu, Amazing Grace, 2005
Digital video, 7:06 (video still)
© Wangechi Mutu