"Communities, Disaster & Change" is a traveling exhibition coordinated by the Valdez Museum and Historical Archive, in Valdez, Alaska. It provides a twist on the fiftieth anniversary of the Good Friday Earthquake commemoration through its connection with other communities and other disasters. The exhibit will travel around the state as well as to Oregon, and Hawaii. The full travel schedule and complete online gallery of the exhibit can be seen here.

This blog serves as a place to host a global conversation about the indomitable nature of the human spirit and communities' reactions to change, how they survive disaster and how they rebuild for the future. We hope this can be a tool for people like you, all across the world, to reach out and share your stories on survival and the will to carry on.

If you have seen the exhibit whether online or in person we want to know your reaction to the work of these twenty-eight Alaskan artists. Please join us in an ongoing conversation, and chime in with your thoughts, views and your personal stories of your community, disaster, and change.

05 December 2014

Denis Keogh, An Artist With A Different Perspective

Denis Keogh, CDC Participating Artist
"Strange Harvest Fukushima Mon Amour"


The exhibit Communities Disaster and Change came to Cordova recently and is installed in our museum and library.  It is a striking collection of images and objects by artists from around Alaska who have been asked to visually contemplate experiences that can be difficult to sit with, let alone give expression to.  The responses naturally vary widely, from artist to artist and individual history with the theme.  Anyone who has spent any length of time at all in Alaska has experienced a place constantly undergoing dramatic change, whether it’s in the brief transition of the seasons, the ongoing friction of unlike cultures struggling to adapt to one another, the upheaval of the seemingly fickle forces of nature, or our own fumbling in using and protecting this place.    

I have a threefold perspective with this show; as a participating artist, as Curator of Collections and Exhibits at the Cordova Historical Museum, and as one with a strong attachment to Prince William Sound at the time of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.  Like everyone who was here in Cordova in 1989, whose lives were interrupted and turned upside down, violated by the events of the spill, I feel like the best part about it is that it is now layered with twenty five years of other memories.  Time has healed many, but not all, of the wounds of that experience.  The Sound appears to be mostly recovered even though oil is just inches below the surface on many beaches.  The salmon are here, but there is still no herring fishery.  Other populations suffered unknown degradation.  It was simply not possible to be here during the spill and not be traumatized by it to some degree.

With my contribution to the show I attempted to make an evocative image of a sudden, traumatic and violent event, an event that, being waterborne, has effects far beyond the immediate place of its occurrence.  Fluorescent clouds on the horizon, possibly radioactive blossom up and out, while an exploding, mutated organism bursts open as it is harvested from the sea.  Nothing too subtle, but still an image I hope warrants a closer look and leaves room for interpretation by the viewer.  Allusions to various tragedies, all self-imposed on us by us, are made in the title, “Strange Harvest Fukushima Mon Amour”.

Denis Keogh


No comments:

Post a Comment

© Communities, Disaster, and Change All rights reserved