Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Changing Landscapes: Visual Explorations of Growth, Expansion and Destruction

Well, it is time I introduce my new work from this past semester. It is a tricky and very complex topic I'm trying to tackle while at the same time exploring new ways to make and compose my imagery. The topic I have chosen for my possible thesis topic is about the changing landscapes in the Paraguayan Chaco, my former home as most of you probably know. The region with its dry forests is changing rapidly due to an economic boom in beef production and also an expansion of soy plantations. Over the past few years I've repeatedly come across articles in reputable newspapers such as the New York Times and The Guardian which focus on the rampant deforestation happening in and around my home community. It's a topic that I've been wanting to address in some way or other for a while, and I believe grad school might be right place to try out some more political work away from the pressures of gallery markets (as much as I love those settings as a working artist and which I hope to return to again eventually). I am greatly concerned with the environmental impact the economic boom in the Chaco has on the region, but at the same time I also see the improved life styles of many of the people in the Mennonite community where I grew up. I'm not entirely sure yet where all of my investigations will take me and my work, but I'm hoping to create some dialogue about issues of deforestation and economic growth, sustainable farming, and possibly land rights for the indigenous communities who are also affected by the economic boom. I am currently in Paraguay to conduct some research and I'll try to write an entry towards the end of the month with some reflections. (I apologize for the long break in posting and now the sudden deluge, but my second semester of my MFA was so stressful I didn't manage to keep up with my blog. I hope that'll be different again in the future now that I'm finished with all my coursework. The remainder of my time at the University of Alberta I will mainly dedicate to making art).

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