My Watercolor Blog

July 30, 2017


Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 6:26 pm

The book, The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable by Amitav Ghosh inspired this first post in the series to include art.

Amitav brilliantly starts off with getting our minds to come around to seeing the familiar in our situation. That familiarity lays in the nature of our being caught off guard by something unthinkable, implausible for us in our everyday lives. We all know this feeling of being caught this way. This is not new.

Amitav asks why is global warming a subject missing from the arts, movies, music, novels? Why when it is so important? And answers it’s not believable and when it does show up it can even be shuffled into science fiction.

As a painter, I get it, there are certainly photos that are so odd that if I paint this subject, it won’t come off at all, it won’t look real, where in the photo (in non-fiction) we have the proof we need for it to be believable to us. Like a scooter stuck in a tree from a tornado, this subject’s best artistic media is in photography.

He gives examples of things catching us off guard: The flash flooding of a river seems to creep right out of the every day, sweeping everyone off guard. A tornado comes out of nowhere in North Delhi where the news reporters don’t even a have a word for it, the tornado is so unheard of there. And “…the air too can come alive with sudden and deadly violence – as it did in the Congo 1988, when a great cloud of carbon dioxide burst forth from Lake Nyos and rolled into the surrounding villages, killing 1700 people and an untold number of animals.” (p.6)

And then we’re ready for the tigers of the Subdarbans, where, “…in the 19th century tens of thousands were killed by tigers. Suffice it to say that in some villages every household has lost a member to a tiger; everyone has a story to tell…The tiger is watching you; you are aware of its gaze, as you always are, but you do not see it; you do not lock eyes with it until it launches its charge, and at that moment a shock courses through you and you are immobilized, frozen…’that tiger is the demon and I’m to be his feast’…” (p.38-39)

So what occurred to me is the possibility of shifting our gaze to instead of wastefully blaming and attacking humanity (which is only pushing us down into inaction) we face the main issue: the accumulation of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere…there is the tiger! Tiger tiger burning bright in the forest of the night what immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symmatry? (Blake)

Action item: bring the topic into your creative mediums



1 Comment »

  1. WOW! Gives me goose bumps! Thanks for this post!

    Comment by Carol — July 31, 2017 @ 12:08 pm

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