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Drowning World explores the human dimension of climate change by focusing on floods across geographical and cultural boundaries.
Rather than the literal depiction of disaster zones, Gideon Mendel focuses on the personal impact of flooding to evoke our shared vulnerability to global warming and question our sense of stability in the world.
The Drowning World project consists of four related series. Submerged Portraits are intimate portraits of flood victims. Their poses may seem conventional but their unsettling gazes challenge us to consider their context.
Gideon Mendel (b. 1959, Johannesburg, South Africa) is a leading contemporary photographer, whose intimate style of image-making and long-term commitment to projects, has earned him international recognition and many awards, including the Pollock Prize for Creativity.
He is renowned for his work as a ‘struggle photographer’ and his 20-year photographic odyssey on the impact of HIV/AIDS. This project culminated with the publication in 2001 of his first book, A Broken Landscape: HIV & AIDS in Africa. Mendel has been occupied with Drowning World since 2007, an art and advocacy project about flooding that is his personal response to climate change. It was shortlisted for the Prix Pictet Prize 2015.
Images: 1) Gideon Mendel, Drowning World, Florence Abraham, Igbogene, Bayelsa State, Nigeria. 2 -3) Drowning World gallery installation at Arles, France