11.18.2011

work table : Landgrabbing series

Okay, I hate doing this, sharing the early, early stages of a new series. When you are unsure of the direction to take and not sure if any of it will work out. But, this IS my work table this week so I'll just be honest: it's SLOW going here. But, I'm just doing it, going with the flow and slowly making progress. Now you understand why I posted earlier about Agnes Martin! I spent a fair amount of time cleaning my desk this week while trying to think.


I am still making more foreclosure pieces but I feel the need to start a new series. I learned last year about landgrabbing. Countries that are buying up land throughout the world to farm their own crops for shipment back to their own countries. This is happening ALL over the world right now, right under our noses. The countries that are selling off their own land are happy, because they're making lots of money. The local landowners are not so happy about having their land taken away by thier government.

My daughter wrote 'cool' on the flags she liked.
The US is guilty in both ways. We're buying land elsewhere and we're also selling out as well. Many countries are doing this. It's not good and it's not sustainable.


Hence, a new series around this issue: Landgrabbing. At the moment, I'm taking the national flags of the countries being sold off, rendering them without color. The map of the country is cut into them revealing the flags of the landgrabbing countries. We'll see if it pans out.

Landgrabbing study: Pakistan and the UAE, 2011. Kathryn Clark
These will be quite large I think, five to six feet across. I can make many of these, which is sad. The facts are there and need to be addressed. www.farmlandgrab.org has been an amazing resource to articles being published all over the world on this issue. It's shocking. More to come soon.

12 comments:

stitchinglife.com said...

What a brilliant idea. Brilliant.

ronnie said...

fabulous work - and wonderful to find an artist addressing the issue - here in my land (australia) the problem is epidemic. And there is a more insidious aspect to the land grabbing - here our state governments have made it possible for foreign mining companies to force farmers off their land in order to mine the contents under the top few inches of soil (which is all the farmer actually owns accorng to the government....) - presently one of our most precious farming district (the liverpool plains - NSW -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liverpool_Plains) is under threat as mining companies (including one mob from china) are moving on in.....

its absolutely abhorrent in every way

k said...

an alarming practice, yet another way we are unsustainably using up the resources of our planet. your approach to highlighting it is really interesting - i am looking forward to seeing how your work develops on this project.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations with your choice of this important issue as a continuation of your work. Awareness raising through e.g. your visualizations of neocolonalist landgrabbing in Africa and the dispossession of smallholders is very important indeed.
Looking forward to following this phase too via your newsletter,
Mlise

kitty kilian said...

Hiya Kathryn,

Great idea. Hope the expo that will come of this will make it through China, too! Of course it has always been the same, this practise, all through history. We Dutch brought slaves to the Americas from Afrika, took silver and tabacco etc home, en brought guns to Africa. It is a never ending cycle of he who is biggest eats best!

I love the hole-countries!

kathrynclark said...

Thank you so much everyone for your support in this series. Sometimes you have no idea if an idea is working or not when you're holed up in the studio. @kitty, you're so right, this is not new. But what's frightening now is how desperate our governments are acting around food and water. Instead of conserving, we're just taking what we can get and destroying the earth in the process.

claire said...

This is a great idea, a great progression from your foreclosure series.

Sophie Truong said...

great idea - however depressing it is. Can"t wait to see where you take it as usual. Already off to a great start..

**EYE-SNACKS** said...

Indeed Kathryn, you are so right!And trnaslate it into your work is a great idea. I'm curious where it will take you.

Victoria said...

Wow. Looks like more powerful work, Kathryn. And the bit you have shown here is stunning. I've only previously heard a small bit about this tactic, and it left me with an uncomfortable feel. Looking forward to watching this new series unfold, and always thankful to you for the thought provoking pokes you give to my consciousness.

Lari Washburn said...

Just beautiful Kathryn...I always see the art first and then it sinks in what it's about...another thing to be aware of in this on-edge world. I heard the most heart-rending call-in on the Diane Reim show today...a woman who wakes up and night thinking about what is happening to the middle class in this country, and wondering how she will manage into old age. I feel grateful for this little community we have, where we can share the scope of our feelings. But just to return to the beauty of your art...it helps.

MulticoloredPieces said...

Oh, yes, yes, yes. Love your landgrabbing theme already. I see your teeth are just as sharp as ever; Bravo! I've been posting about revolution and its aftermath. Some of my artwork is going in that direction. You give me hope because you are addressing some serious issues that most people don't even know about.
best from Tunisia,
nadia

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