Ai Weiwei’s Film ‘Human Flow’ Documents the Staggering Scale of the Global Refugee Crisis
To create his new documentary film Human Flow, Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei spent a full year traveling through 23 countries, following the journeys of some of the 65 million people forced from their homes to escape famine, climate change, and protracted wars. Crossing oceans and visiting refugee camps in precarious border cities in Afghanistan, Greece, Iraq, Kenya, Mexico, Turkey and beyond, Ai documented the stories of fellow humans of all ages and nationalities who currently have no place to call home.
The individual stories of several refugees and their journeys—or near perpetual state of limbo—are interwoven throughout the film, though Ai focuses mostly on a macro view that illustrates the unimaginable scope of the unfolding crisis that has enveloped entire nations. By its nature, Human Flow recognizes that there are no easy solutions to these monumental catastrophes that impacts all of us directly or indirectly, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. A healthy dose of compassion and a recognition of a shared humanity would be a good start.
On a personal note, I felt deeply impacted by the film and strongly urge you to watch it.
On Sunday, April 29, 2018, Human Flow will be screened simultaneously across the United States. Immediately following, Ai will participate in a livestream Q&A with audiences around the country. If you are interested in hosting a public screening in a school, library, community center or elsewhere, you can find out more from ro*co films.
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Globalization and the Environment Collide in Mary Iverson’s Mixed Media Paintings of Shipping Containers
Mary Iverson fills natural and manmade landscapes with colorful shipping containers, objects haphazardly stacked on each other and taking up a majority of the otherwise tranquil scenes. The containers and boxes are cross-hatched with overlaid lines, connecting them a predetermined pattern seemingly known only by the artist.
Iverson explains her work by saying, “My paintings are colorful abstractions that spring from the theme of the industrial shipping terminal. The canvases feature mass accumulations of shipping containers and container cranes in various perspectives. My work employs a network of searching perspective lines and layers of interlocking, colorful planes and rectangles that suggest both deep space and flat surface.”
Part painting and part collage (the pieces often incorporate found photography), her artworks address what happens when globalization and the environment collide, material possessions doubling and tripling until they spill into the natural world around them. The Seattle-based painter gathers the bulk of her source imagery for her sketches through yearly trips to parks across the country, camping and photographing the landscape around her.
Iverson received her MFA in Painting from the University of Washington in 2002 and currently teaches painting and drawing at Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon, WA as a tenured faculty member. Iverson has two upcoming October exhibitions, one at Gallery FB69 in Munster, Germany and another at G. Gibson Gallery in Seattle. Check out more images of Iverson’s work on her Instagram here. (via Juxtapoz where she’s the cover artist for the August issue)
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