Artist Maksud Ali Mondal discusses his work and shares images and the brochure text from his installation You Are What You Eat included in the traveling exhibition CRITICAL ZONES, IN SEARCH OF A COMMON GROUND on the critical ecology of the Earth that was presented in collaboration with Goethe-Institute, Kolkata and ZKM Karlsruhe the Ministry of Culture, Government of India and Indian Museum, Kolkata (February 16 – April 2, 2023).
My practice aims to facilitate an experiential understanding of organisms in a durational, built microcosm, using sculpture, painting, installation and photography. I am interested in generating reflections on how we understand ourselves in relation to each other, including other species, organisms and civilizations, as well as our place in the transforming environment.
My work deals with microbial contamination as a conversational expression, based on the observation of growth, transformations, and decomposition of organic matter by bacteria, fungi, microbial creatures, fermentation, oxidation and rotting, as well as with the organic, man-made, found objects and everyday discarded materials.
This project is comprised of three glass boxes each sized 4' L x 4' W x 7' H and made up of insects, mycelium, mushrooms, ants, flies, and other phenomena of nature which continued evolving the work and consuming the body of the artwork.
You Are What You Eat Installation - excerpt from brochure text in Critical Zones, In Search of a Common Ground / Local Artists Interventions, conceptualized by Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel and curated by Mira Hirtz and Daria Mille.
Anthropologist Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing writes in her book, The Mushroom at the End of the World—‘When Hiroshima was destroyed by an atomic bomb in 1945, it is said, the first living thing to emerge from the blasted landscape was a “matsutake” mushroom’. Scientists have discovered that a strand of fungi in the Chernobyl nuclear power plant feeds on radiation; clearly, it has the potential to decompose radioactive material present at the site.
We share this planet with plants, animals and billions of other organisms—insects, bacteria, lichen, spores, fungi, and so on. They have a way of healing the earth by consuming toxic substances or transforming many other species around them; how fungi decompose everything and turn them into soil, termites break down wood log and leaf litter or the fungi at Chernobyl decomposing radioactive material.
In today’s time, the food or vegetables that come onto one’s plate are not as nutritious as one thinks them to be —the reasons are varied and complex. As concerns around the production and consumption of food permeate the environmental discourse today, a more nuanced, existential question continuously crops up— at this point in history, as species, what are our ways to co-exist with other living forms? In this research-based, slow-growth project, the artist attempts to engage with our daily environment and explore the symbiotic relationship between our food and their food—the food we humans eat and the food they, the microorganisms eat.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Maksud Ali Mondal was born in Bankura, West Bengal, India and currently lives and works in Santiniketan. He completed his BFA and MFA from Kala Bhavan, Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan, in 2019 with a semester at the Royal Academy of Art, Netherlands, in 2016. He received an international award from the Kochi-Muziris Students' Biennale in 2019, the INLAKS fine art award in 2021, and the National Scholarship from the Ministry of Culture, India, in 2018. Maksud also participated in an international residency in Sicily, Italy in 2018. His work has been showcased as part of Five Million Incidents, a year-long series of projects organised by the Goethe Institut, Delhi and Kolkata, and curated by Raqs Media Collective, in 2020.; the Serendipity Art Festival 2019, in collaboration with the Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art; and Artissima Art Fair, Italy 2021.
We are pleased to share the work of Daudi M. Yves, featured in his solo exhibition 'World in Motion' at The Art Shop Zambia in Lusaka , curated by Luyando Muleya. The works presented are meant as a step into the world of change and self-reflection. Inspired by the Masai tribe, the artist’s work reflects the dynamism of change in the world.
Change is constant and affects all aspects of human existence. In his exhibition World in Motion, Yves uses painting and mixed media to explore themes of change, self-reflection, and enlightenment. He incorporates symbolic forms like boxes, globes, and mirrors, Yves invites viewers to reflect deeply on different narratives and perspectives.
Yves highlights the need to challenge harsh self-judgments and judgments of others. His works touch on growth mindsets, memories, harsh realities, poverty, mental health, love, cyber crimes, the internet, dreams and space. Through these diverse topics, Yves suggests we must continually work to broaden our views and treat ourselves and others with more compassion.
Painting with expressive brushstrokes and a vibrant palette, Yves creates chaotic yet harmonious compositions that reflect the dynamism of change in the world. Yves seeks to push viewers outside of their comfort zones and see beyond surface appearances. The mirrors, in particular, signify how we must look within ourselves to find greater wisdom and understanding.
Yves masterfully crafts an exhibition that inspires self-reflection and a desire for positive change. His thought-provoking and moving works shed light on eternal human struggles in an age of constant technological and social progress. Overall, World in Motion highlights our shared responsibility to grow in mindfulness and make the world a better place.
Click first image to view gallery
About the Artist
DaudiMagisha Yves, a contemporary artist from Zambia, has been passionate about art since a young age. At 14, he made the decision to pursue art full-time, creating innovative conceptual drawings and paintings on paper and canvas. His current focus includes exploring the link between mental health and creativity, as well as addressing toxic masculinity and men's emotions. Yves uses art as a tool for self-reflection and inspiration, aiming to address common issues in local and African communities. He has received recognition for his work, including winning second place in the Africa Freedom Day Competition. Yves has collaborated with Osisa-Kumba Arts Gallery on projects highlighting the negative effects of financial flows and corruption in Zambia. His art serves as a voice for self-discovery, unity, peace, culture, and change, inspiring fellow young artists and promoting positive transformation.
We are very pleased to present this report from long-time EAS collaborator and correspondent from Tel Aviv, Einat Moglad. As an artist and art therapist, she relates her story of volunteering with the Blue Jewish Star - First Aid Mental Health Station during tense political protests, with Israeli citizens taking to the streets to express their disagreements, anger and concerns over government actions that they believe undermines democratic principles. The protest has taken place for 30 weeks straight, bringing together up to 150-360 thousand people each week.
In recent times, Israel is witnessing a surge of passionate demonstrations, as citizens take to the streets to voice their discontent against the government's policies and actions. Fueled by a sense of frustration and the desire for change, these protests are a reflection of the growing concerns regarding this current government’s actions. Allegations of Israeli government leaders' attempts to undermine the court system and politicize the law raised serious concerns about the state of democracy in the country. Such actions, if proven true, pose a significant threat to the principles of separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary. As protests continue to gain momentum, these demonstrations serve as a poignant reminder of the power of collective action and the unwavering determination of the people to shape the future of their nation for the better.
Being a therapist in the midst of these protests can be an eye-opening experience. In the heart of Tel Aviv, I volunteered to support those who were protesting, to listen to their stories, and offer them a space for expression and healing. As part of my work at the Blue Jewish Star – First Aid Mental Health Station, I witnessed the power of solidarity, fears for the future, and the transformative impact of art therapy.
As gatherings began, people arrived with mixed emotions. Individuals sought solace in the company of others who shared their concerns. The diversity of the crowd was striking--young and old, families and individuals from different parts of the country were assembling, reflecting the wide range of perspectives and backgrounds that converged at this critical moment. It was both humbling and inspiring to witness people gathering in concern and care for the country’s future.
At the Mental Health Station, I found myself engaging with individuals and listening attentively to their fears, hopes, and frustrations. Many felt unheard, overlooked and disconnected from the decisions affecting their lives. My role as a therapist was to offer a listening ear and provide a safe space for people to express their emotions without judgment. The simple act of being heard and validated can often provide immense relief and empowerment. I witnessed how this simple act of listening had an impact on morale. At times people left the station feeling better, hopeful or simply happy to know that there are people who care.
To facilitate emotional expression, we created an art therapy wall, a canvas for people to visually communicate their thoughts and feelings. Through art and creative spontaneous expression, individuals could find an outlet for their emotions. The wall became an immersive display of the collective experiences. As people engaged with the art therapy wall, they transformed their internal struggles into external representations. It was remarkable to witness the cathartic effect this process had on many participants. This experience demonstrated the power of art to heal and empower. The wall was filled with protestor’s words and images, reflecting a large array of emotions. This enabled people to witness a way to participate in being heard and understood.
The Mental Health Station became a space where people realized that they were not alone in their fears and aspirations. In this communal gathering, a shared sense of purpose blossomed, allowing individuals to see the potential for change that arises when voices come together.
Volunteering as a therapist in the Israeli protest is an unforgettable experience. I admit that I am not much different than my “patients” in the sense that, I too, feel concern about the country’s course of actions. This is useful in my work. It allows me to have an empathetic connection that fosters a deep sense of trust and understanding with the individuals involved in the demonstration. This work reminded me of the profound impact we can have by simply showing up, listening, and providing a space for healing and expression. Through art therapy, individuals found solace and a sense of belonging in a time of uncertainty. I myself as a therapist found great support among colleagues, knowing that there was a place to be seen.
Most importantly, the protest showcased the power of unity, community, and the indomitable spirit of those who dare to stand up for what they believe in. This is a power worth noting in the midst of the political storm.
ADDENDUM: Escalating Storm
Since Einat Moglad wrote the piece above, the political storm has escalated with the Israeli Parliament passing a law on July 24th that strips the Supreme Court of its power to block government decisions, the first part of a planned judicial overhaul that has sharply divided Israeli society and drawn fierce criticism and mass protests provoking chants of “We will not give up.”
Einat adds “There is a true struggle over the Israeli democracy, a dangerous law was passed that puts Israel’s democracy in a grave state–not danger, we are way past danger. I hope for chaos and the rebirth of this country.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Einat Moglad is a contemporary Israeli Artist and art therapist. She completed her M.A. in “Art Therapy'' from the Haifa University 2013. Einat holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts and education Cum Laude from Hamidrasha Beit-Berl College in 2011.
From 2011 Einat has displayed dozens of her works in exhibitions and galleries across Israel and around the world (including the UK, NYC and other locations in Europe) as well as participated in festivals and residencies in Israel and abroad. Einat debuted her solo exhibition “Edges” at Machon Hamayim soon after her graduation exhibition.
Einat is also the driving force behind the project “Scribble it Down” which focuses on collaborative experimental art since 2012. The project has received several awards and grants from the EAS organization in California.
Einat is infatuated with art, nature, people and Japanese culture. Her debut poetry book will be published in the fall of 2023.
Arts & Human Rights: Conversing Multiplicities Exposition was fully energized by engaged visitors in Montreal, along with students and faculty at Concordia University!
May 30th - June 8th, 2023
click the first image on each gallery to enlarge
Opening Night at the Live Exhibition | Thursday, June 1st, 2023
Arts & Human Rights Vernnisage included a walk-through of the Emergent Art Space and Conversing Mulciplicities exhibition, a panel discussion on building positive relations between the arts and human rights with co-curators and Andrea Fitzpatrick, Jabeur Fathally and Omid Milani and Waste Whisperer an art installation/micro-opera about waste by Eldad Tsabary.
Waste Whisperer | Art Installation
Friday | June 2nd
Synapic Soundwave | Live Performance
Embroidering for Human Rights | Workshop
Led by Sophia Boyadjian, participants engaged in conversations on social participation, political activism and oral history while embroidering quilt squares with patterns from historical images related to the Armenian genocide. Quilt squares completed will later be featured in a large-scale installation as part of Catherine Heard’s project Redwork: The Emperor of Atlantis.
Closing Night | June 8th
Closing Night Celebration: included a panel discussion - Reclaiming Opera: Human Rights Issues in the Classical Cannon with Kristin Franseen, Juanita\Jay Marchand, Philon Nguyen, Eldad Tsabary and Patricia Yates – and was followed by a dance party at Waste Whisperer sound installation.