Film Screening: "The Colorado", A Tribute to Water
Environmental art, film, and social impact
6pm doors • 6:30pm show
Our planet is in peril — what can art do to help?
In celebration of Earth Day 2019, National Sawdust hosts an event focussing on rivers and access to water, with a film screening and expert panel centered on this vital issue.
The centerpiece of the evening will be a screening of The Colorado, a National Sawdust Project about the mighty river that carved the Grand Canyon. The film opens nine windows onto the river’s fast-flowing journey, from the prehistoric times to the river’s current critical role as the lifeline of a vast portion of the American Southwest, providing the water that sustains nearly forty million people. Today, the river is so overused and over-promised that it no longer reaches the sea. The Colorado, set to music by five of today’s leading composers including Paola Prestini (National Sawdust’s Co-Founder and Artistic Director) and narrated by stage legend Mark Rylance, takes us on a journey through the prehistoric settlements of the region, the period of European colonization, the dam-building era, modern industrial agriculture and immigration, and the impact of climate change.
Preceding the film, a panel will discuss the role of artistic responses to the present climate crisis. The discussion will focus on waterways and rivers in the US and internationally, giving insight into local issues around the country, as well as further afield. Featuring:
- Lisa Bloodgood, community advocate and Director of Advocacy and Education with the Newtown Creek Alliance
- Murat Eyuboglu, director of The Colorado and a new short, Kipatsi, Nija, Añaantsi (Land, Water, Life) from his upcoming documentary, The Amazon
- Greg Lindquist, artist and writer whose recent work focuses on landscape and abstraction to raise awareness of environmental concerns
- Benki Piyãko, social entrepreneur, environmental and spiritual Asháninka leader, featured in short Kipatsi, Nija, Añaantsi (Land, Water, Life)
- Sunita Prasad, artist and crew of Mare Liberum, a freeform publishing, boatbuilding and waterfront art collective based in the Gowanus area of Brooklyn, New York
Together, these brilliant minds will look at how art, film, and music can intersect with environmental advocacy and scientific study to promote empathy for our natural world and solicit responses that match the urgency of the moment we find ourselves in.
While acknowledging that individual actions alone cannot counteract the unsustainability of late capitalism, the event will leave audience members with everyday suggestions on how they, too, can work for a more just and sustainable future.
6:30pm – Panel discussion
7:45pm – The Colorado screening
“visually captivating and unsettling”
“performed by some of the most innovative soundsmiths around”
“A multidimensional portrait… alternately spectral, dazzling, ugly, and phenomenal.”
“a striking, thoughtful and cautionary piece of art”
“emotionally and intellectually rich”
Murat started photography as an apprentice to Josephine Powell in Istanbul. After attending the Academy of Fine Arts, School of Photography (Istanbul), he transferred to Bennington College, Vermont. He lived in Paris and returned to New York to pursue studies in music history. His dissertation was on the utopian aspects of Gustav Mahler’s works. Since 2000, he has focused mainly on portraiture and collaborative projects. In 2007, he participated in the documentary Claude Lévi-Strauss: Return to the Amazon as assistant director. He directed, filmed, and co-authored the script of The Colorado (2016), a music-based documentary to which five composers contributed original music. His photographs have been published by the French edition of National Geographic Magazine and his music videos have been released by various independent labels. He lives in New York City.
From 2002 to 2010, Lisa was involved in both the LA and NY art and music scenes as a painter and graphic designer. In 2006, she moved to North Brooklyn, and quickly became interested in community advocacy and local government, first through school gardens and then through Occupy Wall Street the City Council. She has worked in a salmon processing plant, as a field biologist and a lab tech, as a painter and gallery manager, and as a barista and bartender. She strongly believes that looking through different lenses helps bring life into focus. Lisa’s work today has a special focus on community science–based research rooted in ecology and restoration. In addition to her work with NCA, she serves as the NY Co-Chair for the NY/NJ Harbor Estuary Program’s Community Advisory Council, on the EPA’s Newtown Creek Superfund Community Advisory Group, and as Co-Chair of North Brooklyn Neighbors Board of Directors, and she has recently joined the North Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s Environmental Initiatives Committee. She studied Earth and Environmental Science at CUNY. Lisa is also a proud community gardener and avid bicyclist.
Greg Lindquist is an artist and writer living in New York. He studied art and design as well as English literature at North Carolina State University, and attended graduate school in New York at the Pratt Institute, earning an MFA in painting and a master’s in art history. Lindquist co-edited the Art Books in Review Section of the Brooklyn Rail from 2011 to 2017, and guest-edited Social Ecologies, a section of the publication on the ruptures and intersections of art and ecology that ran in November 2015. The piece was created in parallel with a show of the same name he curated at Rail Curatorial Projects, which will travel to Tbilisi in the Republic of Georgia.
Lindquist’s work has been exhibited at the North Carolina Museum of Art, the Weatherspoon Art Museum, and the University of Arizona Museum of Art, among other venues, and has been awarded the Sharpe-Wolentas Space Program, the Milton and Sally Avery Foundation Grant, the Pollock-Krasner Grant, and the ArtOMI residency. His work has been written about in artcritical.com, ARTnews, Artslant, Art in America, Bomb, the Brooklyn Rail, the Huffington Post, Hyperallergic, Sculpture, and the New York Sun, among others. His recent paintings and participatory installations have focused on using the beauty of landscape and abstraction to raise awareness of environmental concerns. Lindquist is also examining the cultural practice of rolling coal, where modified diesel truck engines discharge sooty smoke, an aesthetic protest of clean air and questioning of environmental fact. He teaches at RISD and the Pratt Institute, and participated in the Whitney American Museum of Art’s Independent Study Program in 2017–18.
Sunita Prasad is a Brooklyn-based film, video, and performance artist. Her work has been exhibited internationally, including solo shows and screenings at Centre Clark in Montreal, Homesession in Barcelona, Momenta Art in New York, and Vox Populi in Philadelphia. She has participated in group shows at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Torino Performance Art in Turin, Stadtgalerie Bern, Smack Mellon in New York City, and Three Walls in Chicago. She has received awards from the Art Matters Foundation, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and the Warner Bros Production Fund, as well as residencies at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Contemporary Artists Center in Troy, NY, and TAJ & SKE Projects in Bangalore.
Sunita is a crew member of Mare Liberum, a freeform publishing, boatbuilding, and waterfront art collective based in the Gowanus area of Brooklyn, New York. Finding its roots in centuries-old stories of urban water squatters and haphazard water craft builders, Mare Liberum is a collaborative exploration of what it takes to make viable aquatic craft as an alternative to life on land — and as a way to make visible the overlooked and the neglected, in particular the often toxic waterways of our cities. The collective draws from sources as diverse as ocean-crossing raft assemblages, improvised refugee boats built in Senegal and Cuba, and modern stitch-and-ply construction methods that make complex, classic boat designs approachable by novice builders. Mare Liberum’s boats, broadsheets, and workshops have been exhibited by MASS MoCA, the Neuberger Museum, Maker Faire, Psy-Geo-Conflux Festival, Parsons/The New School, Boston Center for the Arts, the Boston Children’s Museum, EFA Project Space, Alexandraplatz, and the Antique Boat Museum, and have been written about in Hyperallergic, the Brooklyn Rail, Bad at Sports, the Village Voice, and Vice Magazine, among others.
Chief Benki Piyãko is a political and spiritual leader of the Asháninka people of the Amônia river, in the state of Acre, Brazil. With their territory under continuous pressure by illegal loggers and drug traffickers, their non-violent resistance eventually lead to the demarcation of their territory in 1992. Designated to become a traditional healer at a young age, Benki has continuously promoted education, health, and sustainable practices based on ancestral knowledge. Through this, the Asháninka managed to maintain both their social and ecological balance. In July 2007, he founded the Yorenka Ãtame Center, offering agroforestry courses to indigenous and non-indigenous people in Acre. In the process, Benki also helped many indigenous peoples to revive their cultures, which were severely impacted by past colonization. On a voluntary basis, he tirelessly rehabilitates drugs- and alcohol-addicted youth through traditional medicinal practices and by teaching them to take care of the natural world. Throughout the past 28 years, Benki has planted over 2 million trees, reforesting large areas of the Amazon. He has also bred and repopulated a few endangered species in his region. As a result of longstanding efforts to advance ecologically sustainable solutions to local and regional problems, Associação Ashaninka do Rio Amônia Apiwtxa has been awarded the UN Equator Prize 2017. In 2017, Benki created the world’s first eco-market which exchanges plastic for foodin the nearest village to Apiwtxa. More recently, he founded Yorenka Tasorentsi, an indigenous Center for healing, education and spirituality, which also aims to continue reforestation efforts in the region.
The waters of Newtown Creek have long defined the communities that surround it. Even as some of these communities begin to grow beyond the industrial legacy of the past the waterway remains a determining factor in everything from human and ecological health, economies local and citywide, art, recreation, and the movement of goods, people, and wildlife. The waterway is often thought of as a boundary, many refer to it as what separates Brooklyn from Queens, the thing that comes between the surrounding communities. We view the waterway in the reverse, it is the thing that brings the surrounding communities together, the water can and does act as the unifier. This is the way we run our organization and a fundamental principle in how we strive to improve it.
Our organization was founded in 2002 when a group of local residents concerned about the environmental degradation and human health impacts of Newtown Creek joined with elected leaders and the Hudson Riverkeeper to establish a path forward in creating a cleaner, more accessible and more vibrant waterway. Since our inception, water quality in the Creek has improved greatly due to wastewater infrastructure upgrades, lawsuits against polluters and settlements paid to the community, and a shift in perceptions of how we can engage in our waterways as a city. Today we are, in many ways, the authority on the waterbody and how all the pieces of community, industry, and the environment fit together. We work in NYC schools grades K-12 and college students of all levels. We engage in and teach others how to participate in community-based science and research projects, lead restoration and clean up efforts, advocate for better solid waste and stormwater management practices citywide and work to bring plant, marine and bird wildlife populations back to the waterway and its shores. We partner with landowners along the shore to develop innovative habitat where there currently is none and encourage their participation in the Superfund process.