Zhu Ohmu, Exhibition Essay

With or Without You: Zhu Ohmu’s ceramic vessels as a personal response to the climate crisis. Written by Mel Dixon
Exhibition Essay | With or Without you | Zhu Ohmu


It's a cool winter's morning and I'm reading a Guardian Australia article titled 'Why the Guardian is changing the language it uses about the environment' and looking at a photograph of a group of around twenty polar bears scavenging for food at a rubbish dump in northern Russia. Their creamy dirt-etched off-white bodies huddle together in a landscape of human food waste. Small mountains of further refuse with a dusting of snow, frames the near distance. The article talks to the media's need for a urgent and critical
change in language use in its reporting of environmental issues surrounding the Anthropocene. Bringing forward an emotive charge to surround the accelerated need to slow the Earth's climate emergency, crisis and breakdown. Long before the word Anthropocene edged its way from the scientific community into everyday language the human relationship to nature was that of beauty, wilderness, serenity and the sublime. After our emancipation from pastoral life to the promises of what life held after the industrial revolution, through wars and famines, the boom and bust of political upheavals and the dawn of our evolution into technological-based beings; we somehow still yearn for this mythical concept of nature as a saviour and overlook the possibility that only we can pull nature back from the edge of complete destruction. Art and nature have moved from the sublime, moving landscapes of the wandering human in solitude to the sudden and horrific realisation that nature not only holds beauty and serenity, but our hopes and the hopes of all lifeforms and communities on earth.



August 15, 2019
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