INHABIT THE BODY, LIVE THE PLACE

EXHIBITION

2019-20

I. THE BODY

painting

Body, sensation and affect

30 cm x 42 cm

Watercolour on paper

2019

 

Our bodies constantly seek a dynamic temperature stability, between our organisms and the environment. In addition to thermoregulation, the surface of the skin, covered with nerve receptors, sends data to our neurons about touch, through which we consider comfort and the familiar. Through the set of our senses, we determine fundamental choices throughout the day. However, much of this phenomenological process is unconscious.

 

On a summer day of calm blue waters, I noticed the different temperatures of the sea, in different places on my body. The currents and changes are constant: hot sand on the feet, warm water on the ankles, followed by a cold current, another warmer and another cooler, in constant evolution.

heat wave, environmental art

Body and landscape

30 cm x 42 cm

Watercolour on paper

2019

Many days in this 2019 winter was impossible to wear warm clothes. High temperatures and extreme drought signal an abnormality that we feel in the body with concern. Looking out: body and landscape are intertwined in a common narrative, made up of places in our individual and collective stories: family, friendships, backgrounds. The landscape portrays our continuity, the bonds that unite us to those who have been, in a time line that we often forget, doing everyday tasks. The tree planted by grandparents, our shade and fruit of today; the land that gives us sustenance and its entire cycle interconnected with animals and vegetables. The drought transforms the landscape and overturns our identity. Who are we, in winter clothes on a summer December, in such a fast-changing climate?

II. THE FOREST

Olive tree

Olive tree

56 cm x 76 cm

Watercolour on cotton paper

2019

The efficient use of water and soil, the conservation of the local landscape and its elements are essential to mitigate the increasing temperatures of climate change. Among the native trees are olive trees, carob trees, fig trees. cork and holm oaks. They are part of a relationship woven over the centuries, a cultural and landscape heritage that emerged from the interaction of people with the environment and that embrace our collective identity, biodiversity and life - which we have an obligation to preserve for future generations. The olive, tree and fruit venerated by diverse peoples and Minoan heritage, extends across our country. The oldest identified in Portugal is 3350 years old, inspiring this work.

acorns, art

Acorns (holm oak and cork oak)

56 cm x 76 cm

Watercolour on cotton paper

2020

 

Portugal is very susceptible to desertification, especially in the south and inland areas of the country. These areas of the Portuguese territory are at high risk of loss of soil fertility and biological capacity. In areas most exposed to desertification, holm oak and cork oak, with high environmental, social and economic value, are essential to combat desertification and consequent soil degradation. The traditional Alentejo forest allows carbon fixation, soil conservation, regulation of the water cycle, and contributes to biodiversity. Endangered species such as Bonelli's Eagle and the Iberian Lynx, the most endangered feline in the world, live in these forests. The necessary recovery of our native forests also contributes to the climate of the regions, in terms of humidity, atmospheric and soil temperature, and to the fundamental precipitation. The regeneration of forests benefits from a permaculture system, which can be helped by the natural dispersion of acorns by animals.

III. THE SEA

ocean art

Ocean acidification 

125 cm x 160 cm

Watercolour on bamboo paper

2019

Oceans absorb about 30% of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by human activities. As CO2 dissolves in water it forms carbonic acid, which lowers the pH of the ocean. Scientists estimate that ocean acidity has increased by 26% since the beginning of the industrial era - a very fast pace for marine life, which has evolved over millions of years in an ocean with a generally stable pH. The pH reduction process binds carbonate ions and makes them less abundant - that corals, oysters and many other organisms need to build their shells and skeletons. The shells of some animals are already dissolving in the more acidic seawater. Many chemical reactions, including those essential to life, are sensitive to small changes in pH. In humans, the normal blood pH ranges between 7.35 and 7.45. A drop in blood pH of 0.2-0.3 can cause seizures, coma and even death. Likewise, a small change in the pH of seawater can have harmful effects on marine life, affecting communication, reproduction and growth. In addition to lost biodiversity, acidification will affect fisheries and aquaculture, threatening the food security of millions of people, tourism and other sea-related economies. The ocean's ability to store carbon dioxide and help regulate the climate will be affected, as this capacity decreases as ocean acidification increases.

wind paths

Wind paths

56 cm x 76 cm

Watercolour on cotton paper

2019

 

The wind is constantly changing, it's invisible and largely unpredictable. This makes those who sail to have a great deal of attention to what happens every second, to adapt. As one adapts, actions become automatic - intuition - the balance between attention and response happens quickly, in a state of fluidity. Not fighting nature, but cooperation. With practice, this becomes "second nature". In its fluidity and interdependence, sailing is very similar to meditation. Activities with certain characteristics - sailing, surfing - captivate by the “feeling good” of brain chemistry (release of endorphins, dopamine and serotonin), but also by temporarily making us forget the illusion of separation from the world in which we tend to live most of the time; instead, they return us to the state of "being with everything", flowing. It feels good, and it's good for everyone. Staying in nature long enough teaches to listen and respect, in its generosity of good winds and good waves in constant change.

termoaline circulation

Thermoaline circulation

56 cm x 76 cm

Watercolour on cotton paper

2019

 

Thermoaline circulation is the circulation of the oceans driven by density, simplified and transformed into a geometric abstraction in this painting. This circulation goes around the globe, driven by changes in temperature and salinity in large areas. It circulates fast on the surface of warm waters and slower in deep ocean currents. The Gulf Stream warms the waters, which move north, forcing the colder water to sink and move south. As the current moves towards Antarctica, the resurgence pushes cold water back to the surface. Scientists estimate that this circulation takes about 500 years to make a trip. The sinking of the thermoaline circulation depends in large part on whether the water is sufficiently cold and salty. Any factor that interferes with the conditions of this circulation can slow down the thermoaline circulation and create more climate change. Observations suggest that changes in the factors that govern circulation are already occurring. Change in the speed and patterns of ocean currents affects nutrients, organisms, and fish stocks.

jellyfish

Jellyfish

56 cm x 76 cm

Watercolour on cotton paper 

2020

 

Jellyfish seem to be proliferating, forming large groups that are an environmental problem with a negative impact on fishing and other marine species. The number of jellyfish is thought to increase due to human practices such as pollution, ocean acidification, climate change and overfishing. Some new species are appearing in Portugal, such as the exotic Blackfordia virginica; Rhizostoma luteum, from which this painting took inspiration, was once considered rare but is now quite common.

blue crabs

Blue crab

56 cm x 76 cm

Watercolour on cotton paper

2020

 

Callinectes sapidus is an invasive species on our coast. These native crabs from the Western Atlantic have been detected in our southern coast by the University of Algarve, since 2016. Along with new tropical fish that appear on our coast as a result of warming waters, other non-native species are on the increase, threatning indigenous species and the delicate balance of our ecosystems.

seahorses

Seahorses

56 cm x 76 cm

Watercolour on cotton paper

2020

 

Seagrass meadows are fundamental to the biodiversity and one of the most threatened habitats in the world. In Ria Formosa, there are two species of seahorses: Hippocampus guttulatus and Hippocampus hippocampus. In 2002, this territory was home to one of the largest seahorse communities in the world; since then, 90% of seahorses have disappeared due to illegal fishing, underwater noise pollution and habitat destruction.

 

This work was formally inspired by the local cultural heritage, establishing the continuity of our experiences with those who came before us. Roman and Phoenician cultures, eastern and northern Africa, were attracted to this land with its beautiful water lines, gentle hills and mild Mediterranean climate. One of the testimonies of these peoples that we have is the Roman mosaic, located in the Museum of the City of Faro that depicts the god Oceanus; its central face, surrounded by circles similar to these, of Tunisian influence. I traded Oceanus for two seahorses, but kept the circles with geometric patterns. The background pattern is based on the geometric structure of an Arraiolos rug, having added plants from the marine meadows.

Inhabit the body, live the place  pays homage to the tradition of being present. To observe with tranquility. Contrary to the constant attention dispersion and multitude of activities that invade our daily lives, this series is anchored in the return to the body - emotions, physical sensations; our place in the world, departure point to observe what’s around us. We live in a rapid paced world, where different aspects of climate change interfere with us, locally reflecting global phenomena. This set of works emerges from the observation of this reality in southern Portugal, hoping to inspire visitors to a slower, kinder relationship with nature and landscape - the seashore, the interior and the forest  -, from the starting point of a pause within ourselves to emotionally touch and inform for the conservation of our oceans and environment.

PURCHASING AN ARTWORK

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availability of an artwork for purchase please contact:

ligiaoliveirastudio@gmail.com

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Lígia Oliveira © 2020