Artists Books

When it Rains we Harvest:

Cuando Llueve, Cosechamos

When it rains we harvest logoI was invited by St Andrews University to take part in a collaborative project, to provide two pieces of artwork for an exhibition at the Fisheries Museum in Anstruther. The aim of the project was to bring together research provided by the School of Geography on the impact of El Niño on a small fishing community in Northern Peru. The exhibition was curated by MLitt students from the School of Museum and Gallery Studies and focused on the theme of crisis and resilience regarding weather-related disasters. The exhibition also used the voices of community members from the Sechura Desert region of Northern Peru and researchers to showcase how scientific research and cultural traditions cooperate to inform more sustainable living practices.

El Niño, a cyclical extreme rainfall event, causes severe flooding and devastation in Peru. For the Sechura desert community in Northern Peru, it also brings opportunities for abundance and well-being as the rains bring moisture for crops and creates lagoons for fishing. I was asked to create a painting and an artist’s book for the exhibition. The shapes, colours and patterns of the landscape around the Sechura Desert region of Northern Peru coupled with the archaeology of the Moche and Chimú cultures provided an inspiring beginning to work with. Archaeological evidence in the region indicates that both the Moche and Chimú cultures developed sophisticated water management practices surrounding El Niño that date back to at least the first century C.E. By rescuing ancestral knowledge and remembering indigenous ways of modification these communities have found new ways to tackle the effects of climate change and adapt to challenging and life changing situations.

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