In 1816 the French naval frigate, the Meduse, hit the coast of Mauritania due to the incompetence of its captain. One hundred and fifty men were set adrift on a raft that was patched together from the remnants. After 13 days at sea only 15 men survived. The survivors’ recounted rebellion, dehydration, hunger, mental exhaustion and acts of cannibalism.
1818-19, Theodore Gericault painted The Raft of the Medusa, depicting the exact moment when the ship was spotted. Humanity is revealed in all its multi-faceted glory: misery, desperation, acceptance, survival and hope.
Humans currently face extreme weather conditions that are unprecedented. The question is how can we effect change? And what actions will assist in our mental well-being?
Kim Ireland’s art practice is founded upon research and the power of historical narratives that are expressed through the medium of charcoal drawing. The Raft (2020) is the third of her Threshold series which reconstructs global climate events. Sourced from media websites, the photographs depict isolated moments that are enlarged to life-size proportions. With every work, the overarching theme is the human psyche that consistently reveals our paradoxical nature. However, The Raft created an opportunity to also highlight the power of action alongside questions of transparency and the insidious nature of global corporations, and our cultural institutions.
Work: Threshold: The Raft (2020), charcoal, acrylic, spray paint.