Nii-Obodai, No. 2, 2018. Courtesy of Invisible Dust.
Water defines and shapes landscapes, lives and biodiversity, its economic and political value, has allowed those who control it power. Whether liquid, solid or gas, it is entangled with eco-political issues around the globe – from rivers running dry in Ghana to the flash floods that are increasingly affecting Yorkshire and the Humber region.
In his commission for ‘Surroundings’ Ghanaian artist photographer Nii Obodai has been inspired by the waterways of the East Riding in Yorkshire, in particular the Gypsey Race, Spurn Point, Tophill Low and Pocklington Canal. During his residency with Invisible Dust he has explored the way people have interacted with, exploited, controlled or lived alongside water and is investigating themes of climate change and landscape in the East Riding region. His new body of work questions the extremes to which we have pushed our environment and will use photographs, sound and installation to represent the liquid landscapes that connect and intersect the lives and ecology of the region.
Nii uses an 8 x 10 large format Deardorff camera, shooting in black and white, which allows him to slow down the process of photography and connect more with the waterways that he is capturing. His working process has also been highly collaborative, and throughout the project he has been in consultation with various individuals, all of whose work focuses on or with ideas of waterways or biodiversity. Their knowledge and diverse approaches to the topic have fed into Nii’s own thought process and the development of his work.
Surroundings is produced by the Humber Museums Partnership (HMP), Hull, East Riding and North Lincolnshire in partnership with Invisible Dust.
Launched in 2017 – the year of Hull City of Culture – the programme includes international public art commissions with an environmental theme, a young curator’s project, residencies and exhibitions. Each year has a different but interrelating theme – Food, Migration and Landscape respectively. It is funded by Arts Council England through Ambitions for Excellence and Wellcome Trust Sustaining Excellence.