IF ONLY THE RIVER REMAINS TO SPEAK.
Sensitive environment for the Omo Valley tribes
1 October 2018 – 31 December 2018
An art installation by Studio Azzurro and photographer Jane Baldwin, in support of Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples
The story of peoples who depend on a river for their lives. Voices activated by a piece of red clay—red as the gravel bed of the Omo River, which is at risk of drying up. A story of a river and a struggle for life…
The project combines the artwork of American photographer and educator Jane Baldwin with the creativity of the renowned Milanese art research group Studio Azzurro, founded in Milan in 1982. The immersive art experience raises awareness for the vital work of Survival International by deepening empathy for tribal peoples’ lives, lands and cultures caught in a man-made environmental and humanitarian crises in Ethiopia’s Omo River Valley and Kenya’s Lake Turkana watershed, which was recently added to UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in Danger.
Immersed in the sounds of a flowing river, a metaphorical sculpture of red clay symbolizes the Omo River’s meandering course. The red, desiccated surface of the river indicates the crumbling and dried up riverbed, deprived of its annual flood by a controversial development project. The visitor transforms a clay fragment into an amulet that is dropped into a receptacle, tranforming the river into a storyteller, the voice of the river becomes the voices of the women.
Thus the interactive poetic journey along the Omo River begins as visitors engage with the women, who are the main characters of the project and the depositaries of oral traditions through tales, myth and song.
The project honors the women of this region, the birthplace of humankind, and reveals the deep bonds between humans and their habitat, between other peoples and ourselves. The installation inspires reflection on the value of safeguarding biological and cultural diversity for the future of humanity at a time when the global drive for limited resources continues unabated.
For 10 years, the Omo ecosystem and the people who depend on it have been threatened by a huge hydroelectric project made in Italy, and by the land grabbing that followed by agro-industrial farmers who want to grow cotton and sugarcane crops for export.
OPENING TIMES: Mon 2.30 pm –7.30 pm Tue, Wed, Fri, Sun 9.30 am – 7.30 pm Thur, Sat 9.30 am –10.30 pm ADMISSION: Free
0254917 (Mon-Fri 10.00am-5.00pm)
Workshops by Survival International for high school students are available for free, in Italian. The case of the Omo River Valley and its peoples is the starting point for a guided activity for debating topics of development, land, climate change, individual and collective identities. The workshops are intended to stimulate reflection about the meaning and vital role of respect for diversity, and will follow the multidisciplinary vocation of the art project, pertaining to international law, geography, anthropology, philosophy and ecology.
Follow-up materials will be supplied by Survival International. For info and bookings: email@example.com or 02-8900671.