2 May 2013 - Artist Gerry Judah has been commissioned by international development agency Christian Aid to produce a series of works for Tipping Point, a new exhibition about climate change in association with Wolverhampton Art Gallery, which runs from 11 May – 6 July 2013.
Entitled Bengal, and consisting of five sculptures, Gerry’s new work was inspired by a trip to West Bengal and Jharkhand in India to see how poor communities affected by changes in the climate are adapting to unpredictable weather patterns and rising sea levels.
Tipping Point also features work by international artists including former Turner Prize winner Simon Starling and former Prize nominees Darren Almond and Anya Gallaccio. The exhibition explores the unstable future of our environments and economies, and centres on global climate change and the ways artists have chosen to highlight these issues. It also continues the Gallery’s commitment to presenting art which is socially relevant, and to use contemporary art as a vehicle for exploring challenging issues.
Gerry, who was born in Kolkata in West Bengal but has not returned for 50 years, was struck by the inequality that comes with dealing with climate change in India.
‘It seems to me that there are people in India getting richer and richer and there are people in India getting poorer and poorer. And it’s those who are really more affected by climate change.
‘I remember we were in a village having dinner and were sitting on these chairs that you would have thrown away in a skip. They were torn plastic vacuum formed, but they were wired together with old rusty metal to become chairs again. And it seemed to me that people are just using anything they can to patch up their lives, so that they continue living or existing, and it seems to me that climate change has such an impact on people that they’re trying to patch up whatever they can just to deal with it.’
During the trip Gerry saw how giant coal power stations, which are fuelling India’s thirst for energy, are contributing towards the CO2 emissions that lead to changes in our global climate. Yet India is a country where half a billion people still have little or no access to energy. Some poor communities, who live in shadows of the power stations, are also plagued by the fly-ash deposits which affect their ability to grow crops to feed themselves.
He also met communities of subsistence farmers, whose crops, homes and businesses are increasingly affected by unpredictable droughts and floods, and who are working with Christian Aid partners to adapt their farming methods to cope with their environment. The same communities are also learning how to use sustainable, clean energy sources such as solar and biogas and how to develop early warning systems, which allow them to prepare for disasters.
Other highlights in the exhibition include Darren Almond’s Bearing, a film about sulphur miners in Indonesia, Anya Gallaccio’s You got the best of my love and Merel Karhof’s Wind Knitting Factory, alongside works by John Kelly, Heather and Ivan Morison, German artist Mariele Neudecker, Mexico-based Virginia Colwell, English/German artist duo HeHe and Katie Paterson. There will also be a selection of photographs from The City series by American artist Lori Nix, who creates images proposing the effects of a man-made apocalypse on our civic and communal spaces.
Tipping Point will open at Wolverhampton Art Gallery on Saturday 11 May 2013. For details of the work by Gerry Judah visit www.christianaid.org.uk/tippingpoint
If you would like further information please contact Melanie Smith on 0207 523 2416. 24 hour press duty phone – 07850 242950 or for specific information about the exhibition, contact Charli Hill at Wolverhampton Art Gallery on 01902 552040
Notes to editors:
1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 50 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.
2. Christian Aid has a vision, an end to global poverty, and we believe that vision can become a reality. We believe that the underlying causes of poverty were made by, and can be ended by, human action. Our strategy for building the power of us all to end poverty is embodied in a new report ‘Partnership for Change’: http://www.christianaid.org.uk/Images/2012_strategy.pdf
3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. Further details at http://actalliance.org
4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire
5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk
6. Built in 1884, Wolverhampton Art Gallery houses collections of art from the 1700s to the present day. It has permanent collections as well as a varied programme of constantly changing temporary exhibitions and displays. Collections include 20th century British Art, a Georgian Gallery, a Victorian Gallery, ‘Traced’ (art and design in Wolverhampton 1850-1970) and ‘Sensing Sculpture’, a pioneering education gallery designed for young people with visual impairments studying art. Its Pop Art and Northern Ireland collections are of national significance. The Art Gallery has an active education and outreach programme, and provides services for pre-school, school, out of school, college, university and life-long learners
7. Gallery details: Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Lichfield Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1DU. Tel: 01902 552055. Wolverhampton Art Gallery is open Monday to Saturday, 10am – 5pm, free entry. For more information about Wolverhampton Art Gallery, please visit www.wolverhamptonart.org.uk