Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Guest Post by Charles Okereke on Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African Arts 'Earth Matters' Blog

The Earth Matters blog of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African Arts published an article by Charles Okereke, titled 'Earth, a Dying World?'. The article uses images from the Unseen World's 'Planeterium' sub-series to illustrate and question the state of the earth and man's role in restoring and rejuvenating the earth.

Read an excerpt below:
Guest Voices: Charles Okereke
Today’s guest post comes to us from photographer Charles Okereke. Based in Nigeria, Okereke’s work, Once in a Blue World was featured in the Earth Matters exhibition. Charles was also featured earlier on our blog... Now Okereke comes to us with his own words and meditations on his powerful and personal, world-conscious photographs. Be sure to visit Okereke’s blog for more works of art and news about this renowned photographer at charles-okereke.blogspot.com/.

Earth, a Dying World?  
Charles Okereke

The Earth was made as a dwelling place for all creatures, which also includes man.

Of all the creatures dwelling therein, Man is the destroyer when he was otherwise crowned with sovereignty. This arrogant attitude indicates an excess of self-worth, and has made man a plunderer rather than a nurturer.

Human beings are the only creatures that have set rules apart for themselves and refuse to conform to laws that guide creation’s movement and sustenance. Man is similarly the only creature that is out of tune with the eco-system and plagued with a one-sided narrow intellectual outlook.

What is sensed and termed as catastrophes globally today are but a retroactive consequence of a misalignment of the forces of nature – mankind so to speak, has dug its own grave, like dying Worlds.
 Hdramhindra Blasted-2010 copy 
Hdramhindra Blasted (2010) 

This period of recompense will be felt globally in every facet of human endeavor, not only environmentally or climatically. But it will likewise reflect in socio-political affairs, which can already be surmised in the upheavals that are perennial occurrences today.

Man has been living in an exclusively selfish mentality, devoid of the understanding of the powers which he uses daily, ignoring nature’s principles and adjusting thereby. Economic affairs are collapsing; nations are in conflict, and there is uprising everywhere.

Dis-integration-2010 copy 
Dis-integration Cameo (2010)

These are visible reverse processes, as the system has to automatically be put back into orderliness by eliminating the inferior and the destructive, be they man or animals, worlds and planets, landscapes and mountains, rivers and oceans, man against man, nations against nations, economic shifts and the rest of them – all these are manifestations of the activities of the Lords of the elements, which man sees as warfare in nature, and perceives one-sidedly as cruel in their manifestations and activities.

Collapse of Andromeda Emperial (2011)
Even in routine designs, we know there is a designer with a purpose who strives to make his designs adaptable and useful to the original intention for its creation; how much more for an automatic pulsating life form like the Earth with her inherent regulatory system. Mankind can only learn by compulsion and   experiences in the coming years to adapt naturally.

My concern comes from the simple understanding that we are all connected and a part of the ecosystem, and by my sense of duty to maintain a healthy and natural world...

To read more, visit Guest Voices: Charles Okereke 
To view more images from 'The Unseen World' Series,  click here

Monday, September 9, 2013

Now Showing: 'Canal People' Series at Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon, Portugal

Selected works from Charles Okereke's 'Canal People' Series are now showing at the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon, Portugal as part of the 9th Edition of the Bamako Photography Encounters  touring exhibition tagged 'For a Sustainable World'. 

Red Alert (2009)
Fuelled Tank (2011)
Red Peeping Mermaid (2011)
Our Reflections (2009)
Once a Blue World (2011)

Curators: Michket Krifa and Laura Serani

“For a sustainable world” is the selected theme for this year’s Bamako Encounters, a theme appropriate to a continent where many countries are far from reaching the emission levels stipulated under the Kyoto Agreement and the consequent implications in terms of environmental policies, economic decisions, defending the environment, regulating agriculture, fishing and industrial production. Dozens of photographers responded to the challenge set and bore witness to a world demanding drastic solutions.

For more information, visit  Gulbenkian Museum's website here.
Find out more about Recontres Bamako: For A Sustainable World  here

Feature - Earth Matters Around the Web: Charles Okereke

Earth Matters, the blog for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art's "Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa"exhibition featured Charles Okereke in August 2013. Read an excerpt from the post below:

Earth Matters Around the Web: Charles Okereke

Today’s post will feature Nigerian born artist Charles Okereke,  one of the artists featured on the Earth Matter’s exhibition.  Okereke  works with different media ranging from photography, video and  sculpture. He also writes, acts and directs plays and drama pieces.

Charles Okereke
Charles Okereke

Earth Matters features works from Okereke’s Canal People Series which you can view by visiting his blog at http://charles-okereke.blogspot.com/

Once a Blue World, from the Canal People series below is currently showing in Earth Matters.
Charles Okereke  b. 1966, Nigeria Once a Blue World, from the Canal People series 2009 (2013 exhibition print) Chromira print on archival paper 44.5 x 59.7 cm (17 1/2 x 23 ½ in.) Collection of the artist
Charles Okereke
b. 1966, Nigeria
Once a Blue World, from the Canal People series
2009 (2013 exhibition print)
Chromira print on archival paper
44.5 x 59.7 cm (17 1/2 x 23 ½ in.)
Collection of the artist

 About "Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa"
With approximately 100 diverse works of art, as well as, for the first time at the Smithsonian, three works of land art in the Smithsonian’s historic Enid A. Haupt Garden, Earth Matters will be on exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art from April 22nd, 2013 through January 5th, 2014. (For more info, visit http://africa.si.edu/exhibits/earthmatters/index.html.)

Featuring artworks from ca. 1800 to the contemporary moment, Earth Matters explores the direct, profound, and visually mediated relationship between individuals and communities and the land upon which they live, work, and frame their days. The issues that define our era – territorial dispute, environmentalism – have at their heart the human relationship to the earth.

Visit the website of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art here.

Visit the Earth Matters blog here