BLUE’s Christmas party on Wednesday 10th December was held at an exhibition entitled ‘HERE TODAY‘, to draw attention to the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened and Endangered Species. So after we’d all done a bit of talking and drinking, we were shown round the exhibition by the organisers and some of the artists, which was a great treat.
The wonderfully curated exhibition was apparently set up in only two months – a remarkable feat, given the extraordinary range and calibre of works collected. The set of ten endangered species screen prints by Andy Warhol were incredibly beautiful, and I loved Tracey Emin’s neon sign ‘I listen to the ocean and all I hear is you’. But many of the exhibits were moving and disturbing. One of the most striking was a series of photographs of a baby albatross on a beach with its semi-rotten abdomen revealing that its stomach was full of plastic. The artist, Chris Jordan, has explained that the parents scour the oceans, and thinking that plastic is food, fill their babies with the small pieces and so kill them.
Tracey Emin – I Listen To The Ocean And All I Hear Is You, 2011. HD video, 01:00 Digital limited edition. © Tracey Emin, courtesy of www.seditionart.com
A more uplifting work was by Leyla Aliyeva, who had created a room painted with the veins of trees. In the middle, an enormous heart pumped. If you stood against the wall, the reverberations filled your body. Entitled simply ‘Life’, Leyla told us that it was a reminder that we are connected to nature and the life force that it gives us.
Leyla Aliyeva – Life, 2014. Printed wall paper, mixed media, sculpture and sound track Various dimensions, installation. Specially commissioned for Here Today… © the artist
From BLUE’s point of view, it was interesting to see that a large part of the exhibition focused on the health of oceans, and particularly the problem of plastics. The endangered mega-fauna of the oceans were represented by a beautiful series of photographs of a whale.
I was reminded of the way in which art is such an effective medium for conveying messages – including unpalatable ones. Previous generations might have used art to convey human suffering. Now the damage that the human race is inflicting on its own planet is the message we all have to face up to.
We returned to the party, inspired, sobered (with much need to top up our drinks) and enriched from having seen and learned so much.
Our huge thanks to Freuds, to the IUCN and to Baku Magazine for helping our small charity throw the sort of party we could never otherwise afford and to making it such an incredible and memorable event.