RE/SISTERS takes a closer look at environmental contradictions at the Barbican Art Gallery

If women have historically been seen as nurturers of the planet, why has their understanding of the environment often resisted the capitalist response to the climate crisis?

An exhibition coming to the Barbican Art Gallery in Silk Street, Barbican, wants us all to take a closer look at this contradiction.

RE/SISTERS will bring together photography, film, and installations by nearly 50 women and gender non-conforming artists.

Across roughly 250 works, the exhibition presents a roadmap for creative forms of civil disobedience and protest against the ecological crisis.

American artist Agnes Denes’s 1982 work, Wheatfield – A Confrontation, will feature in the exhibition.

To create the work, Ms Denes planted and harvested a wheatfield across a two-acre site close to Wall Street, New York, to reclaim the land.

There will also be images from the iconic Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp.

In 1981 a small group of women, a few men, and children marched in Wales to protest against the arrival of US nuclear warheads at RAF Greenham Common.

The protest would lead to the establishment of the Greenham women’s peace camp, which became the biggest female-led protest since women’s suffrage.

The Barbican exhibition will show never-before-seen colour images from the event.

As well as looking at the relationship between gender and equality, RE/SISTERS pays close attention to the role of race.

Organisers of the exhibition have also chosen to platform the work and voices of artists from the indigenous communities across India, Malaysia, Angola, Nigeria and Colombia.

Works from these artists will show the stark divide between who has caused, and continues to exacerbate climate change, and who suffers the catastrophic effects.

The exhibition has been organised across six sections, the politics of extractions, protest, the labour of ecological care, environmental racism, and queerness.

Across these groupings, a variety of film and photography will be displayed.

Shanay Jhaveri, Head of Visual Arts, Barbican, said: “We hope that in contrast to a rhetoric that is often cynical about environmentalism, it offers visitors a thoughtful, optimistic and sometimes joyful way to consider the world’s current climate.”

Tickets: www.barbican.org.uk/ReSisters



Picture: Judy Chicago, Immolation from Women and Smoke, 1972 Picture: Judy Chicago/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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