THE FUTURE OF THE SAHEL
Collages as part of desertification of the Sahel Region research. As part of the counter-proposal to the Epistle of the Harvest visual, I have revisited these visuals as part of the graphic novel being developed in collaboration with Jake Stephenson.
While researching this project, I studied various climate models and environmental predictions of the region's future. An estimated 2.6 million people remain displaced in the Lake Chad Basin with 6.5 million people considered food insecure in the region as of 2016 according to the United Nations. Because of this reality, the burden of desertification is inevitably placed on future generations.
Although the problem is grounded in current realities, the creative response can embrace the freedom of speculative fiction and futurist fabrication. The use of science fiction as a literary and artistic resource for a design proposal challenges the acceptance of environmental degradation as inevitable and irreversible.
Science fiction instead portrays the potential of our future landscape and dystopian possibilities our current actions might conceive. Author Ben Lerner argues “in order to perceive a particular thing too imperfect, we must have in mind some ideal of perfection”.
THE RITUAL OF REFORESTATION
These motion images represent reviving traditional ecological knowledge and cultural practice as well as liturgical observances that serve the natural world. Liturgy is defined as the communal performance of sacred activities such as praise, thanksgiving, remembrance, supplication or repentance. They are customary public worship prescribed acts of worship and observances. Liturgy is derived from the Greek term ‘leitourgia’ meaning ‘work for the people’, ‘public work’, or ‘public service’.
Osogbo Groves are sacred forests located in Osun State, Western Nigeria. These traditional groves were a sacred venue reserved for worship and through this, inadvertently led to the conservation of the forest as activities such as farming, hunting, fishing and felling of trees were strictly prohibited in the sacred forests. This is from a time where reverence for the celestial went alongside respect for the natural domain. The Osogbo Groves is a UNESCO World Heritage site due to the large adobe and timber architectural sculptures within the forest. These constructions within sacred forests were common in pre-colonial Yorubaland and acted as an altar or shrine for the city. The term shrine is from the Latin scrinium meaning "case or chest for books or papers".
The idea of public service and sacral structures is present in many faiths and cultures. Every year, the Great Mosque of Djenné in Central Mali is replastered with adobe drawn out of the Bani river during the rainy season. Djenné youth procure the clay and plaster the 13th-century structure as an act of piety.
MAGICAL REALISM & STORYTELLING
In the literary style of magical realism, The [Dis]Honourable Harvest uses fantasy and fiction as a means to address real-world issues like the climate crisis— in this instance deforestation and desertification in the Sahel region through cutting, collaging and making futurist moving collages. An altar is a meeting place between humanity and divinity. This diagram depicts the layers between these two worlds; nature the spatial creation of divinity and architecture the spatial creation of humanity are layered between these two realms.