• Aug 10,2023
  • In Review
  • By Abundant Art

Review: Dear Earth at Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre until 3 Sept

Hayward Gallery’s latest exhibition, Dear Earth brings together the work of 15 artists exploring climate change. The exhibition is an immersive exploration of our planet’s delicate ecosystems and its pressing environmental challenges.

The works on show are varied and intriguing – full size tree trunks fallen in the gallery, pyramids of green leaves, large projections reflected on water tanks. The works on display act as a means of both reflection and activism, often shining a light on the urgent issues facing our planet. Each piece serves as a stark reminder of both the fragility and resilience of our ecosystem.

Among the standout works are Ackroyd & Harvey’s portraits – a series of monochrome grass seed paintings grown from a projected photographic negative. The artists explain “where the light falls, the grass blades produce chlorophyll, the green pigment. Where there’s less light, they produce less green. Where there’s no light, they grow but are yellow”. Here, the artists explore the possibility of reclaiming ‘the commons’ – vital resources we all need and must share to sustain life on Earth: soil, water, air. Each portrait celebrates a different London activist including Paul Powlesland, a nature rights activist and barrister, Destiny Boka-Batesa, one of the founders of the clean air campaign Choked Up and Helene Schulze of London Freedom Seed Bank, which is building an urban seed commons and distributing London-grown seed for free. This powerful work is uplifting and inspiring, it showcases activists making real and important changes, in a delicate and thoughtful way.

Dear Earth at Hayward Gallery is a thought-provoking exhibition exploring the ever developing climate crisis and our relationship with it. Some accompanying information about Hayward’s own environmental policies, or even simply the environmental impact of the exhibition, would have really improved its impact. That said, the works are considered and diverse, making for an intriguing showcase.

Image : Installation view of Ackroyd & Harvey, Dear Earth: Art and Hope in a Time of Crisis (21 Jun –⁠ 3 Sep 2023). Photo: Mark Blower. Courtesy the Hayward Gallery.

More information about the exhibition and tickets is available here.

Review by Amy Melling

Amy is a Curator and Creative Producer whose practice is centred around community-led arts projects. Her current research is focused on curatorial methods for exhibiting artworks outside. Amy has a keen interest in the arts and recently completed an MA in Curating and Collections at Chelsea College of Arts, UAL.

Read Amy’s latest Review: Cuckoo – Equal parts harrowing and hilarious (abundantart.net)


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