The Exchange 16 FEB — 18 MAY 2019

GÄA: HOLISTIC SCIENCE AND WISDOM TRADITION

A group exhibition featuring Gemma Anderson, Serena Korda,
Delfina Muñoz de Toro and Abel Rodriguez.

The work of Abel Rodriguez, an elder from the Nonuya community in Colombia, reflects an
ancestral understanding of the indigenous plants and life cycles of the Amazon. For many years,
he guided western scientists through the rainforest and has continued to share his intrinsic
knowledge in a language of images, describing the intricately intertwined ecosystem of the
rainforest around his people’s village.

Rodriguez’s comprehension of the living landscape has parallels with holistic scientific approaches
that offer alternative views to mainstream empiricism. Gäa refers to the personification of the
Earth in Greek mythology and was a working title for Alexander von Humboldt’s major work which
he later named Kosmos. Following his expedition through Colombia and the rainforests of Latin
America, he described the earth as a living organism and all forms of life entangled in a fabric of
relations. The works in this exhibition explore the traditional ecological knowledge that survives in
indigenous cultures having developed through these peoples situated co-existence with particular
places over millennia.

Gemma Anderson’s experimental drawings emerge from collaborations with a cell biologist and a
philosopher of science. Her practice has been inspired by Johann Wolfgang Goethe, a
contemporary of Humboldt, whose phenomenological approach to natural philosophy proposed
the practice of science as an art. A series of sound sculptures by Serena Korda draws on wisdom
from a European worldview that had not yet been shaped by the scientific revolution and Delfina
Muñoz de Toro’s visionary paintings and medicine songs are informed by her experiences living
and working within ancestral cultures of the Amazon.

The exhibition, curated by Gina Buenfeld, includes ethnographic textiles from the Shipibo and
Huni Kuin peoples, both indigenous to the Amazon rainforest. The embroidered and woven
patterns are sacred geometries that represent the energetic form of natural entities in the jungle.

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