Kendall Mealey

The Moving Mountains Exhibition at the Visual Arts Center

          The exhibition Moving Mountains: Extractive Landscapes of Peru, is located at the Visual Arts Center on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin. The exhibit consists of a variety of mediums including photography, printmaking, drawing and video installation by two separate artists: Edi Hirose and Nancy La Rosa. The photographs consisted mainly of the construction developing in the nation of Peru and upon the topic of how corporate companies are taking the land and destroying what were once beautiful rural landscapes, and turning them into urban money making centers. The artists are able to tap into the impact of how everyday life is being affected by these innovations taking place, and the negative reality coming about as opposed to the bright future the citizens were hoping for.

The photographs compositions point is to relay the message of how much pollution has been created as a result of the construction, and displays the amount of destruction of what once was what locals recognized to be their home. You can see this in several of the images taken of the rivers and waterways within the country of Peru, where the images are corrupted by copious amounts of trash and machinery plastic. Another point was how the cultural norms of the inhabitants around the city are affected day in and day out by the greedy contractors and their thirst for the wealth and gold.

One of the video installations even singles out how the contractors appeal for gold and money will run out as soon as the wealth runs out of the city they destroyed. When that happens, the business men who once came in will promptly leave behind a once peaceful countryside, now into the ruins that they have created for the inhabitants. The sounds of construction behind it with just the words being placed upon the screen help to make the piece seem melancholy.

The exhibit was fairly spaced out to offer proper viewing range for each of the art installations, but not so far as to disengage the audience from the artwork around it. Each of the drawings and sculptures presented in the exhibition were accompanied by written descriptions that allowed the viewer to aptly understand what the artist was trying to convey without straining too much thought into the process. This way, the artist was able to clearly make sure that the audience understood their viewpoint, making very little room for one to interpret anything else.

The artwork does an excellent job at creating an atmosphere that creates a feeling of empathy and hurt of what the residents of Peru feel. When one walks through the exhibit, they almost feel transported into the minds of the locals, and one can feel the anguish and suffering that has been brought upon their lifestyle. All in all, the subject matter of the exhibition is entertaining throughout each piece, and the variations in each work of art make an interesting statement to all of its audiences. (508)

-Kendall Mealey