September 7 – December 8, 2023

Painting by Hubert Tayori Takori
Painting by Hubert Tayori Takori

The Amazon is a central focus of the most consequential geopolitical and environmental concerns of our time. It is a vast, rugged, beautifully diverse expanse integral to the planet’s ecological well-being, yet it has been continuously invaded by numerous resource exploitation interests severely lacking in sustainable administrative policies. In the face of this crisis, it remains a struggle for Indigenous peoples to uphold their rights, maintain their cultural traditions, and preserve their ancestral knowledge and lands.

This exhibit seeks to amplify indigenous worldviews through the presentation of artworks by the Etochime Harakbut Artist Collective, an Indigenous art collective from the Madre de Dios region of the southern Peruvian Amazon, an area heavily impacted by contamination from the illegal gold mining boom of the past 20 years there.

MINE incorporates PLOT by Earth and Mining artist, Jeannette Unite, who has focused on rich and contentious mining histories and the ways in which humans lay claim to our planets resources to create wealth, since living on Africa’s west coast alluvial diamond mines since the 1990s.

PLOT section of the exhibit
A selection from PLOT by Jeannette Unite

PLOT has evolved from Jeannette Unite rescuing two archives of aerial photographs. The first are redundant teaching aids from the Department of Earth Sciences at Oxford University and the second is from South Africa’s government department of Rural and Land Planning, these negatives and photographs were saved from being recycled for the silver. These surveillance images have been replaced by Google Earth and satellite imagery, so act as historic evidence of the link between land data also referred to as geomatics, and law.

Unite arranges these images in a broken grid to reference latitude and longitude geo-coordinates to interrogate the ways in which humans divide, regulate, and organise Earth’s real estate and minerals. The law disenfranchised indigenous peoples across the globe during the expansion of European empires.

The Pen was mightier than the sword in the colonial conquest of land. It was through Title Deeds and Mineral Rights as Western legal instruments of ownership that cemented colonial power relations.

This exhibit is presented in collaboration with the Wake Forest Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability and curated by Patsy Craig.