The landscape does not care it is a landscape: A Pessimist-Utopian journey in Kentucky

In this series, I invite the viewers to travel through different places in Central and Eastern Kentucky. The region’s landscape, like many other American landscapes, is often known to the public through the settler colonial lens—a lens that ignores Indigenous peoples’ history in the region.

The work in the exhibition is a response to landscape art’s history and complicity with American settler colonialism. Art was recruited to create a new identity for the settlers and the country from the beginning of the American colonial project. Landscape art was a crucial part of this effort, presenting the land as an empty, God-given place for white settlers. However, not only was this land not empty, but it has been occupied by Native Americans for millennia.
Communities lived within the land and did not separate themselves from it. As opposed to this way of living, settler colonialism seeks to take over land and extract its resources, while trying to eliminate all Indigenous peoples. This approach has never ended and in many ways is the root of the climate and environmental crisis we live in.

There are four parts to this exhibition: The Non-Romantic Panoramas, Surveilled Abstract, Immersive Landscape, and a video and sound installation. Using different mediums, viewers can experience parts of the Kentucky landscape: the panoramas are presented in a way that does not try to beatify the scenery, the black and white abstract series present a distinct perspective and aesthetics of changes the land has been through, the Immersive Landscape VR installation takes the viewers to multiple locations with a unique point view, and bringing all the pieces together is an ongoing video and sound installation that is always present in the gallery. The exhibition offers moments or images that appear to be more dire; others are intimate and hopeful. This contrast is a reminder that while we grieve the victims and losses of colonial violence, there are many survivors. Regardless of what the future will look like, we can be inspired by resiliency and nevertheless imagine a new world.

The landscape does not care it is a landscape: A Pessimist-Utopian journey in Kentucky

The Anti Romantic Panoramas

Surveilled Abstract

Immersive Landscape