Auckland Festival of Photography presents Gideon Mendel as part of our exclusive international exhibitions for the Disruption [raruraru] theme. We are pleased to bring to Auckland, for an exclusive season at Queen’s Wharf, Submerged Portraits, a portrait series as a provocation of the global conscience.
This set of intimate portraits of flood victims is at the core of the Drowning World project. Mendel’s subjects address the camera looking out from their devastated environments and inundated homes. The poses may seem conventional but their confrontational gazes challenge us to consider their context of catastrophe across cultures and time. Coming from disparate parts of the world they reveal their shared vulnerability and linked exposure to climate change despite vast differences in lives and circumstances.
Since 2007, using stills and video, Mendel has been working on Drowning World; an art and advocacy project about flooding that is his personal response to our climate crisis. His work has been widely published in magazines and newspapers including National Geographic, Geo and the Guardian Weekend. His images have been used in climate protests while his photographs; installations and video pieces are increasingly seen in gallery and museum contexts.
Mendel has received the inaugural Jackson Pollock Prize for Creativity and the Greenpeace Photo Award. Shortlisted for the Prix Pictet in 2015 and 2019, he has also received the Eugene Smith Award for Humanistic Photography, the Amnesty International Media Award, and six World Press awards. More recently he won the Head On Portrait Prize 2021. Mendel has recently developed some new projects addressing the Covid-19 crisis and has extended his work on global warming to include the element of fire.
In Auckland, in June 2019, Auckland Council responded to this crisis and the irrefutable evidence of climate change by declaring that our region is facing climate emergency. Our city waterfront will be severely impacted in the decades ahead without mitigating and transformational action.
Thank you Panuku Development.