Since 2007, South African photographer Gideon Mendel has focused on “Drowning World,” an art and advocacy project about climate change. The work began after he photographed two floods that occurred in quick succession, one in the United Kingdom and the other in India. Struck by the impact of the floods and the vulnerability that united their victims, Mendel continued to photograph flood zones throughout the world.
In 2017, Mendel captured the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma in Northeast Florida and Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas. A selection of images he made in the wake of Irma and Harvey, plus photos from flooding on several continents, are currently exhibited at MOCA Jacksonville in Florida as Gideon Mendel: Drowning World. The exhibition aims to explore the personal impact of climate change within a global context. Deluge–Gideon Mendel, a 5-channel video using video and stills accumulated in 13 different countries, will also be on view. The video depicts a variety of individual stories, unified within a global narrative that is intimate and deeply political.
Deluge will be displayed concurrently at FototFest International in Texas.
“Art as a vehicle for advocacy is a powerful tool. The timing of this exhibition during hurricane season is intentional,” says MOCA Director Caitlín Doherty. “Every year the southern United States braces itself for natural disaster during storm season, and Mendel’s work challenges us to remember that we are not alone.”