Recap: Passenger by George Boorujy
The impact that us as humans have had on our landscape is phenomenal, with swathes of rainforest being chopped down, ice-caps vanishing, our destruction of the natural habitat for many species of animal has been quite devastating with some becoming extinct and others close to the edge. While the human population continues to expand and change the landscape around us we seem to give little thought to the creatures that inhabited it before us, an idea that George Boorujy carried into the creations for his Passenger exhibition that was shown at the P.P.O.W Gallery in New York recently.
Passenger by George Boorujy at P.P.O.W Gallery
Visitors to the Passenger exhibition by George Boorujy at P.P.O.W Gallery in New York were able to see the magnificent ink on paper depictions of animals native to North America, created with respect to the long standing tradition of artists and naturalists creating realistic documentation of life on earth. For the work in Passenger, George Boorujy took inspiration from the Columbian Exchange in 1492, which refers to the widespread exchange of animals, culture, people and diseases between American and Afro-Eurasian hemispheres after the voyage of Christopher Columbus and the way that the landscape, animals and people of North America were changed forever and some species of animal becoming extinct. Boorujy has looked at our part in an ever changing ecosystem and the relationship that exists between the animal world and the human world that are shaped by our environment. The animals represented by George Boorujy in Passenger were placed out of context; no natural landscapes were presented in the drawings but a strong use of negative space allowed the viewer to engage eye to eye and consider their relationship with the animal. To emphasise the impact we have on nature, Boorujy included three images of Passenger Pigeons, 2014 marked the 100th anniversary since its extinction while the image of a horse rolling around on the floor in ecstasy points to the extinction of horses on their home continent before being reintroduced by the Spanish. While the beautifully detailed and coloured animal images took up much of the exhibition, George Boorujy also takes a brief look at how we treat our fellow humans by including a portrait of a woman whose ethnicity is obscured along with a portrait of Ota Benga, a Mbuti Pygmy man shipped to America from the Congo and displayed in a zoo alongside a chimpanzee and orang-utan, showing how low the human race can go at times. In Passenger, George Boorujy captured the true beauty of these proud creatures with his fine ink on paper renderings, offering us a chance to stop and contemplate just what we share the world with.
George Boorujy was born in 1973 and raised in New Jersey. Originally the plan was to study marine biology until the arts took over his life, receiving a B.F.A. in painting in 1996 and then travelling to New York where he studied at the School of Visual Arts receiving his M.F.A. in 2002.
The exhibition Passenger by George Boorujy was shown at the P.P.O.W Gallery in New York between November 6th and December 20th 2014, a catalogue for the exhibition is available from the P.P.O.W website.
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Photos courtesy of PPOW Gallery.