Between 2007 and 2011, twelve leading artists visited the Galápagos Islands as part of the Gulbenkian Galápagos Artists' Residency Programme. Each artist was given free rein to connect with the Islands in the way most appropriate to their individual curiosity and distinct practice, whether to observe the strange wildlife, spend time with scientists at the Charles Darwin Foundation, take a tourist boat trip or engage with local communities. They found plenty of material to inspire new work - providing insights into the complex social and environmental challenges that impinge on the archipelago's fragile ecosystem. Their resulting artworks also prompt comparisons with other places in the world that are beset by multiple demands.
Artists Jyll Bradley, Paulo Catrica, Filipa César, Marcus Coates, Dorothy Cross (with actor Fiona Shaw), Alexis Deacon, Jeremy Deller, Tania Kovats, Kaffe Matthews, Semiconductor and Alison Turnbull spent time on Galápagos - diving with sharks or studying butterflies, working with botanists to develop gardens with local people, or canvassing, from a bird's point of view, people's opinion on 'human colonisation' for Galápagos TV.
The exhibition Galápagos can be seen at The Bluecoat Liverpool, The Fruitmarket Gallery Edinburgh and Centro de Arte Moderna Lisbon.
On this website
• Award-winning palaeontologist and science writer Richard Fortey shares his thoughts on Island Life
• Curators Bergit Arends and Greg Hilty investigate the role of artists in nature's system and in provoking a more ethical response to the natural world
• Felipe Cruz of the Charles Darwin Foundation discusses the work of the scientists on Galápagos
• Actor and director Fiona Shaw muses on her visit and the lasting impact it made