The Human Flood Panel Discussion

By East City Art Editorial Team on April 21, 2024
Ellyn Weiss and Sondra N. Arkin, Permanent Temporary Housing (detail), 2023. Wood, screws, used vinyl banners, found canvas and plastic. Each 20 inches H x 24 inches W x 31 inches D. Total 50. Courtesy of the artists.
Talk: Thursday, April 25 at 2pm

Speakers: Ellyn Weiss (artist) with Brenda Ekwurzel, Director of Climate Science, Union of Concerned Scientists; Amali Tower, Executive Director, Climate Refugees.

What does it truly mean to leave a life behind upon migration and start a new one elsewhere? The Human Flood, a site-specific collaborative installation conceived and created by Ellyn Weiss and Sondra N. Arkin, attempts to answer this question through its exploration of the ever-growing mass migration of human populations caused by climate change. Years of extreme heat, rising sea levels, wildfires, drought, and water shortages have left the environments in which millions of people lived no longer able to sustain human life.

The installation invites visitors to confront the full experience of migration by evoking both the more visible markers of this movement – extreme weather, nomadic refugee scenarios — as well as the human and societal impacts of uprooting, including the fracturing of family ties, uncertainty, poverty, and helplessness.

The dilemma we face is how to accept responsibility without amplifying fear or threat, to recognize our common humanity. The scale of this movement places immense challenges not only on the resources of the planet, but fundamentally on the capacity of the heart to evolve, and to address those challenges with honesty and compassion.

American University Museum
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW