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Exhibitions & Events

Carolina Caycedo: When Walls become Rivers

                            Carolina Caycedo 'Serpent River Book' 201714 February - 14 March 2020

A solo exhibition of works by Colombian born artist Carolina Caycedo (b. 1978) will open at Art Exchange, University of Essex, Colchester. The exhibition drew inspiration from the recent acquisition of Serpent River Book (2017) by the Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA), also based at the University of Essex, which is the first artwork of Caycedo’s to enter a UK collection.

Acquisition of the artwork was proposed by Art History and Curating postgraduate students in 2019 as part of the innovative module ‘Collecting Art from Latin America’ where the students learn hands-on how museums collect and acquire artworks.
Carolina Caycedo, is a London-born Colombian artist, now living in Los Angeles, whose work is exhibited at major museums worldwide. From her

practice at the intersection of activism and art-making, Caycedo produces art that spans video, performance, books, photography and installation to explore the mythologies, cultures and economies of rivers, focusing especially on the conflicts and social movements arising from mega-dam construction projects.

This exhibition brings together a body of works by Caycedo that relate to the lives of rivers and the struggles waged by social movements and indigenous communities to protect water, and other forms of ecological commons, from commodification and privatisation. It also honours the female environmental activists who raise their voices against worldviews that deaden nature, and instead insist on its vitality for social and ecological wellbeing. The centrepiece of the exhibition, Serpent River Book, is an unfolding publication of texts and images which traces the lives of rivers from source to sea. The book will literally “flow” through the gallery space at the University’s Colchester campus, inviting visitors alike to reconnect to the role of water in sustaining life. 

This exhibition is guest curated by Dr Lisa Blackmore, Senior Lecturer in Art History and Interdisciplinary Studies from the School of Philosophy and Art History, who explains the global relevance of Caycedo’s focus on human control of rivers. “Dams silence rivers, channelling water into structures and systems that harness it as a resource for hydropower and extractive industries. But rivers are so much more than that. They constantly escape human control, overspilling the walls built to contain them and reshaping landscapes. They dry up too, desiccating the earth as they retreat. Given the water stresses facing communities worldwide, including here in the UK, this is a timely moment to rethink our relationship to water. Carolina’s work really helps us do that.”

Image:   Carolina Caycedo Serpent River Book (detail) 2017 ESCALA 1-2019

TALK: Women on Women Activists

                            Carolina Caycedo 'My Feminine Lineage of Environmental Struggle' (2018)Women from the University of Essex respond to the series of portraits of women activists by Carolina Caycedo’s that make up her 6 metre long banner called My Feminine Lineage of Environmental Struggle (2018).  Informal, from the gut, the heart and the head, we are looking forward to an evening of multiple perspectives.

Please join us on Thursday 19 March, 6.00 -7.30 pm.

Admission free - all welcome.

Image: Carolina Caycedo My Feminine Lineage of Environmental Struggle (2018) 

TALK: Dr Lisa Blackmore: Carolina Caycedo's 'Serpent River Book'

                            Carolina Caycedo 'Serpent River Book' (detail) 2017A chance to find out more about the extraordinary Serpent River Book (2017) that is the starting point of Carolina Caycedo’s exhibition When walls become rivers.  Dr Lisa Blackmore, from the School of Philosophy and Art History here at the University of Essex will open up a conversation that reveals the lives of rivers and the lives and struggles waged by social movements and indigenous communities to protect water, and other forms of ecological commons, from commodification and privatisation that can be traced through the artwork’s 72 pages

Please join us Wednesday 19 January, 6.00 -7.00 pm, in Art Exchange.

 Admission free – all welcome.

Image: Carolina Caycedo Serpent River Book (detail) 2017 ESCALA 1-2019

TALK: Amazonian Waterways, Amazonian Water Worlds

                Carolina Caycedo 'Serpent River Book' (detail)            A talk by Dr Giuliana Borea that explores the tensions between the Peruvian government’s newly proposed Amazonian Hydrovia Project and Amazonian indigenous communities living and working on the river.  She will highlight how this project endangers what the rivers means to Amazonian indigenous people, as she investigates the power relations of who determines what the river is and how it is managed – and to whose knowledges and realities the idea of ‘diverse perceptions’ is attributed

Dr Giuliana Borrea is Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Sociology, University of Essex.

Please join us on Thursday 27 February, 6.00 -7.00 pm, in Art Exchange.

Admission free - all welcome.

Image: Carolina Caycedo Serpent River Book (detail) 2017 ESCALA 1-2019

TALK: Lunchtime tour with ESCALA

                            Carolina Caycedo 'Serpent River Book' (detail) 2017Join ESCALA curators Dr Sarah Demelo and Diego Chocano for a tour of our current show, Carolina Caycedo’s When Walls Become Rivers.  Sarah and Diego will focus in on the art objects in the room, revealing further insights into object based learning that is at the heart of ESCALA’s teaching and research.

Please join us Thursday 5 March, 1:00 -1:45 pm, in Art Exchange.

Admission free - all welcome.

Image: Carolina Caycedo Serpent River Book (detail) 2017 ESCALA 1-2019