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Spirit in the Land

February 16 – July 09, 2023
Tamika Galanis, Still from Catching Shadow (detail), 2021. Video (color, sound), 6:02 minutes. Courtesy of the artist. © Tamika Galanis.

Our desire to live in harmony with nature is ultimately what will determine our future.

Trevor Schoonmaker, Mary D.B.T. and James H. Semans Director, Nasher Museum.

Our identities and natural environments are intertwined

Spirit in the Land is a contemporary art exhibition that examines today’s urgent ecological concerns from a cultural perspective, demonstrating how intricately our identities and natural environments are intertwined. Through their artwork, thirty artists show us how rooted in the earth our most cherished cultural traditions are, how our relationship to land and water shapes us as individuals and communities. The works reflect the restorative potential of our connection to nature and exemplify how essential both biodiversity and cultural diversity are to our survival.

These artists explore the ways in which our inner spaces mirror our outer ones in works that both celebrate the profound beauty of our world and mourn its loss, and with it, vanishing histories of people and place.

As the battles against climate change are often most critical for marginalized communities— environmental justice is social and racial justice—the exhibition and catalogue center the voices of artists who approach ecological awareness through a close attention to the communities most negatively affected. Acting as environmental stewards, the artists reclaim and revitalize our understanding of nature as a repository of cultural memory, a place of sanctuary, a site of resistance, and a source of spiritual nourishment and healing. As land and water provide a sense of belonging and community, the exhibition illustrates our interdependence with all life on Earth.

Spirit in the Land has its roots in North America, with shoots reaching into the Caribbean. While these artists investigate natural environments under stress, the exhibition presents a belief in the possibility of transformation and regeneration. Our desire to live in harmony with nature is ultimately what will determine our future.

This exhibition is organized by Trevor Schoonmaker, Mary D.B.T. and James H. Semans Director, Nasher Museum.

Artists

Terry Adkins, Firelei Báez, Radcliffe Bailey, Rina Banerjee, Christi Belcourt, María Berrío, Mel Chin, Andrea Chung, Sonya Clark, Maia Cruz Palileo, Annalee Davis, Tamika Galanis, Allison Janae Hamilton, Barkley L. Hendricks, Alexa Kleinbard, Hung Liu, Hew Locke, Meryl McMaster, Wangechi Mutu, Dario Robleto, Jim Roche, Kathleen Ryan, Sheldon Scott, Renée Stout, Monique Verdin, Stacy Lynn Waddell, Charmaine Watkiss, Marie Watt, Carrie Mae Weems, Peter Williams.

María Berrío, Hummingbird 2, 2021. Collage with Japanese paper on linen, 8 x 10 inches (20.3 x 25.4 cm). Courtesy the aritst and Victoria Miro. © María Berrío. Photo by Bruce White.
Meryl McMaster, From a Still Unquiet Place from the series As Immense as the Sky, 2019. Chromogenic print mounted on aluminum composite panel, 40 x 60 inches (101.6 x 152.4 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Stephen Bulger Gallery and Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain. © Meryl McMaster.

Support

Lead support for Spirit in the Land is provided by the Ford Foundation.

Major support for Spirit in the Land is provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

At the Nasher, Spirit in the Land is supported by The Duke Endowment; the Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Family Fund for Exhibitions; the Frank Edward Hanscom Endowment Fund; the Janine and J. Tomilson Hill Family Fund; Katie Thorpe Kerr and Terrance I. R. Kerr; Alexandria and Kevin Marchetti; Parker & Otis; Lisa Lowenthal Pruzan and Jonathan Pruzan; and Caroline and Arthur Rogers.

   

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