Gideon Mendel‘s Drowning World is an art and advocacy project about flooding that is his personal response to climate change.
By documenting the impact of floods, Gideon is capturing real people, their world submerged in our sodden ability to face up to a shifting environment. In doing so Gideon turns them from the faceless victims of news stories into something rather more nobler. But there’s a sense of doom.
For his Drowning World exhibition at Plymouth Arts Centre, much of the work focuses on the Somerset and Thames Valley floods of winter 2013-2014.
‘The images on show include landscapes vanishing underwater and portraits of flood victims within the landscape of their own personal calamity.’
But Drowning World is international in its scope. The series began in 2007 and ‘visually addresses socio-environmental issues of a warming planet’, and has documented flooding in India, Haiti, Pakistan, Nigeria, Australia and Thailand.
In the blurb for the Plymouth show Gideon says:
“In a flooded landscape, life is suddenly turned upside down and normality is suspended. With an almost ‘tracing paper’ effect on the societies in which they occur, flood waters often reveal underlying tensions and difficulties as they recede. It is these elements that continue to draw me to flood zones, evoking many questions about our sense of stability in the world.”
The Drowning World series is just part of Gideon’s work which responds to global social issues.