arwe art

WHANGANUI

2016

“Whanganui” investigates the fragile relationship between humans and nature. There is a stunning disregard for the protection of our natural world, especially when it comes to its waterways, which may be due to the physical distance we have to maintain from the ocean world. Inspired by the rare success story of the Whanganui River being granted human rights in New Zealand, this series plunges models underwater to explore what lies beneath the surface.

There is a dreamlike, almost fantastical, atmosphere created by Westerhuis’ compositions and palette, and the women appear to almost be mythical creatures. These photographs allow us, for a moment, to indulge in the fantasy of a world where there is a mutual respect between humans and nature, and our waters will finally be safe.

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Driven by a fascination with the ocean as a yachtsman, Richard Westerhuis investigates the fragile relationship between humans and nature in his series, “Whanganui.” There is a stunning disregard for the protection of our natural world, especially when it comes to its waterways. Directly and indirectly, human life is destroying nature and its waters, and yet our leaders continue to fail to prioritize investing in solutions to decrease our dangerous effects. Water is one of our most vital resources, and our bodies are composed mostly of water, but we do not respect our relationship with it. Inspired by the rare success story of the Whanganui River being granted human rights in New Zealand, this photographic series imagines a world where people and the waters around us are interconnected.

Thinking that our heedlessness for the sanctity of our waters is due to the distance we physically have to keep from the underground ocean world, “Whanganui” plunges models underwater to explore what lies beneath the surface. The serenity of the women’s faces and their gently floating hair and clothes creates a tranquil sight. There is a dreamlike, almost fantastical, atmosphere created by Westerhuis’ compositions and palette, and the women appear to almost be mythical creatures. The framing, use of light, and palette are drawn from Bill Viola’s “Five Angels For The Millennium,” inviting comparable reflections on the new era we seem to be at the brink of now. These photographs allow us, for a moment, to indulge in the fantasy of a world where there is a mutual respect between humans and nature, and our waters will finally be safe.

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