All over the world, cultural professionals, artists, architects and designers are grappling with the effects of climate change whilst actively involving their communities. Their work opens up creative spaces that raise awareness of changes in our environment and develop possible solutions to counter the climate crisis. Some of these perspectives are now being shown in the Goethe-Institut and the Prince Claus Fund’s multimedia exhibition Take Me to the River, curated by Maya El Khalil. The selected works from Egypt, Ecuador, Colombia, Mexico, Congo and other countries include film, photography, VR video, audio-visual archives and community radio. Due to the pandemic, the exhibition will be presented online from 15 December at www.takemetotheriver.net.
Since 2018, a joint funding programme by the Goethe-Institut and the Prince Claus Fund has been supporting initiatives that seek cultural and artistic responses to global environmental changes. Around 35 art and culture projects from Africa, Asia, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Eastern Europe have been funded so far. Take Me to the River, a multimedia online presentation, will make 15 of these artworks available to the public.
Johannes Ebert, secretary-general of the Goethe-Institut, said of the upcoming digital exhibition platform, “The world is being shaken not just by the present pandemic, but also by the vast consequences of the climate crisis. As a global cultural institute, our cultural and educational work has long been committed to issues of sustainability and ecology and we support related artistic initiatives such as this with the Prince Claus Fund. Climate change is a key challenge for all of humanity. We therefore continue to promote these topics at our 157 institutes worldwide. We need more emotional approaches to openly discuss sustainability in society. Art and culture offer the space to perceive and work on challenges from different perspectives. They galvanise us and at the same time offer concrete solutions.”
Take Me to the River presents the diverse perspectives of the funded projects as a chorus of voices against resource depletion, environmental abuse and the violation of the rights of indigenous communities. The exhibition is curated by Maya El Khalil, independent curator and cultural adviser based in Oxford. It pursues five narratives – Subject of Rights, Object of Abuse, Nature Prosecutes, Humanity Sentenced and Motion to Recover – to weave the individual projects into a story that both illustrates the effects of the climate crisis on people and the environment and shows alternative answers.