After debuting at the East Wing Gallery of Somerset House in London and being shown at a number of other major museums around the world, award-winning South African-born photographer Gideon Mendel’s exhibition Drowning World comes to South Africa. Mendel's series, which focuses on the human effects of flooding around the world, won him the Greenpeace Photo 2016 Jury Award and has been featured in magazines such as National Geographic.
The first body of work Submerged Portraits has been described by celebrated artist and writer Gordon Glyn-Jones as having a "peculiar stillness to them". While the subject’s worlds have turned into a dystopian hell, they gaze out sedately as if posing for a traditional portrait. The portrait series captures the victims of the floods still in their homes, with the water levels often at waist-level and higher.
The Floodlines series tracks the invasion of flood water through intimate spaces, homes and landscapes, while in Watermarks Mendel records the dramatic damage caused to personal belongings - specifically photographs - by reinventing images found by floodwaters as relics of an apocalypse.
Mendel's film The Water Chapters was filmed alongside the capturing of the stills for the Submerged Portraits series and reveals the eerie tension between the static photos and the silence that follows after a flood.