Sunday, November 29, 2015

Follow up to... Landfills and Dumps

Back in April 2015 (Saturday, 25 April, to be exact) I posted a series of pix of in-progress shame totems. Specifically, I wrote:

The Shame Totem

...As you may know, a totem is, often, a tall, vertical carved or painted family or clan representation or emblem with identifiable common/meaningful objects. A ‘shame totem’ is geared to elicit public embarrassment, usually for unpaid debts although Alaska Native carver Mike Webber of Cordova erected one to shame Exxon Mobil on the anniversary of the Exxon Valdez spill….
(More... read that post.)  
Here it is, almost exactly 6 months later and these totems are glazed, fired, and ready for public eyes.
Back then, (link to that post to see) I displayed the greenware version of one totem. Here it is glazed and fired. This is front and side view. Click on the image to enlarge.
ceramic sculpture, climate change art, susan galleymore ceramic sculpture, sculpture, ceramic arts
Title: Heedlessness Series 1. ( (c) Susan Galleymore.
This piece is one of three that will  be entered into an exhibit with the theme of Climate Change. Here is how I describe the piece (24" high x 15" wide x 15" deep):

Heedlessness Series, 1

Riffing from a line of Rumi's poetry -- "Heedlessness is a pillar that sustains our world, my friend" -- I researched the location and dispensation of our planet's largest landfills. 

These dot the planet and countries compete for title of World’s Largest Landfill; the current favorite is South Korea’s Sudokwon (a marvel of geometric engineering 30 km west of Seoul). 

Mexico City’s Bordo Poniente held the title until it closed in June 2012. In 34 years of operation more than 70m tons of waste were dumped here (56 feet deep in some places) and 1.5 million tons of methane were released per year.

In the U.S., the biggest landfills are in Shawnee, Kansas, followed by Puente Hills, near Los Angeles, and Apex, near Las Vegas.

This sculpture sits on a pedestal inscribed with the "Heedlessness..." line of Rumi's poetry. Two figures strain to hold up the pillar upon which the planet rests; a snake, a recurring motif in my work, coils around the pillar.
On the upper (northern?) hemisphere of the blue planet, "X" marks the spot on the continents that host the world’s largest landfills. The Pacific Garbage Patch (spelled out) raises awareness about the state of that ocean ...and all of our planet's polluted oceans, seas, and rivers.
On the lower (southern?) hemisphere, I present landfill names at different angles to signify the lack of coordination in addressing the reals requirement of a planet increasingly smothered by waste.
The mid-section (equator?) is a round-a-bout of endangered oceanic creatures: turtles, whales, salmon, puffins, penguins, albatross, and dolphins.
The sculpture’s head, the "thinking" core of our world, erupts out of turbulent waves that almost cover the woman. She wears a necklace of semi-precious beads around her neck with a fish skeleton pendant. She is crowned with a garbage barge with waste piled so high it spills over the sides. The barge, however, is also a lifeboat offering shelter to the segments of humanity that must migrate from their traditional homes due to the effects of climate change.
The barge/lifeboat is named "Lollipop" (as in the “Good Ship Lollipop”).

Size: 24” (h) x 15” (w) x 15” (deep)

The other pieces are:
ceramic sculpture, climate change art, susan galleymore ceramic sculpture, sculpture, ceramic arts,women's bodies as social message,
Title: Heedlessness Series 2. ( (c) Susan Galleymore.

Heedlessness Series, 2
Another take on the line of poetry by Rumi -- -- "Heedlessness is a pillar that sustains our world, my friend" – this sculpture  addresses an aspect of Woman/Women, in the age of climate change.
Here, the human body, like the planet, is under siege from the pressure of living the Western lifestyle. This includes pressure to consume beyond need to excessive "getting and spending” (‘we lay waste our powers” according to Wordsworth), and to keep up with the latest “in” thing.
Women must both turn to one another for sustenance and support and compete with one another for goods, services, and resources.
Meanwhile, the obvious -- the body/planet connection -- is overlooked, over-ruled, over-indulged, etched on, sketched on, and kvetched over.

Size: 27” (h) x 10” (w) x 15” (deep)

 Heedlessness Series, 3
ceramic sculpture, climate change art, susan galleymore ceramic sculpture, sculpture, ceramic arts,women's bodies as social message, heedlessness, heedlessness is a pillar that sustains our world, Rumi poetry on heedlessness,
Title: Heedlessness Series 3. ( (c) Susan Galleymore.

Heedlessness Series, 3 
My third take on the line from Rumi’s poetry -- "Heedlessness is a pillar that sustains our world, my friend" – considers migrants and migration in the age of climate change.
Rising sea levels will affect millions of people who live in coastal areas and will have to scramble for higher ground to survive, and millions more who will be displaced by the scramble.
This sculpture depicts a dominant figure trapped in water that rises to her thighs, and rising up and out of water.
Her right arm and shoulder are formed by three snakes, a white feather, and a small key. Her snakelike arm grips a walking stick, an object that guides, comforts, and offers security. The other snakes that curl and wind around the woman’s torso may stimulate a viewer’s ambivalent relationship to these wild creatures and to nature.
The white feather signifies the artist’s regard for the written word… and that words are key to the artist’s well-being.
The Woman’s left arm and shoulder are formed by a ladder upon which she supports a fleeing migrant…or an ambitious person. Thus, the ladder can represent a means of escape and social and political ambition (often the downfall to clear thinking about climate change). The ladder rests on, or rises from, the Hand of Fatima, an emblem of magical thinking as well as an object of beauty and safety (warding off the evil eye).
The migrant that clambers up the Woman’s thigh is, perhaps, someone who has not heeded the mounting evidence of climate change or is someone who lacks the resources to ensure her own safety.
The Woman’s headdress – a lifeboat surfing through waves – suggests the surfer can ignore inherent danger …or harness it as a temporary means of excitement and pleasure.
The many faces in this piece suggest that, for now, populations  may  continue to rely on magical thinking and 'business as usual' to deny an inevitable future.
Size: 40” (h) x 12” (w) x 11” (deep)