We’ve all seen the images of the exploded Deepwater Horizon oil rig and the depressing images of oil-covered birds and wildlife littered on the coast, but how many of us really grasp the full impact of the BP oil spill disaster on the individuals living on the Gulf Coast? Inhabitat is hoping to change all this and present the human face of the BP oil spill disaster with a groundbreaking new art exhibit we’re launching in NYC called ‘Mired in the Bayou‘, a mixed-medium exhibit explores the Gulf Coast communities that have been left in financial and emotional ruin as a result of the spill. This provocative art exhibit will be opening next Friday, October 15 at 99% Gallery in New York and will bring the human face of the BP oil disaster to light like no other media has done thus far. If you’re in town this day please join us for the opening reception, and if you can’t make the exhibit, or can’t wait to see the photos, click through our gallery and watch the video trailer ahead.
Bayou La Batre is a small town of approximately 2,500, long known as the seafood capital of Alabama. However, over the past decade, foreign imports, the rising cost of diesel fuel, and overfishing have eroded the seafood industry that supports this community. Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina slowed business even further; the community was just beginning to recover when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in April 2010. In the wake of the disaster, BP has thrown astonishing amounts of money at this small town, fracturing the community as competition for this “free money” has pitted citizens against one another. Worse still, the influx of capital and subsequent drama have distracted from the more ominous reality of what will happen when the oil money stops coming and the community is left to survive without an industry.
Michael De Pasquale, Reed Young and Erin Sheehy traveled to Bayou La Batre, Alabama, in July 2010 to document the effects of the disaster on this small town. The resulting project, Mired in the Bayou, chronicles the lives of ten unique individuals who have been affected by the oil spill. In twenty photographs, along with text and audio, Mired in the Bayou presents three strikingly divergent artistic styles that, when viewed together, highlight the disconnect between the material reality of this town, its citizens, and its lore.
Graham Holly will provide an installation that explores the Louisiana coastline on a more intimate scale. Graham ventured to Pass a’Loutre and Grand Isle in June 2010, where he procured five samples of weathered crude from the beach and water. He stored the crude in five-gallon paint buckets and transported them to New York, where they were encased in plexiglass. The plexiglass displays on show here offer viewers an in-depth glimpse of the crude taken directly from the severed oil head.