The Soils Project

‘The Soils Project’ is part of an eponymous, long-term research initiative involving TarraWarra Museum of Art (Wurundjeri Country, Australia), the Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven, Netherlands) and Struggles for Sovereignty, a collective based in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. It works through specific and situated practices that consider soil, as both metaphor and matter.

Seeking and facilitating opportunities to listen to diverse voices and perspectives around notions of caring for land, soil and sovereign territories, the project has been in development since 2018. An international collaboration between three organisations, and several artists, curators, writers and activists, it has manifested in various iterations over several years. The group exhibition ‘Soils’ at the Van Abbemuseum is part of Museum of the Commons.

The soil is the basis of our lives. It is where our ancestors once lived and where future generations will build a life. It is the link between past, present and future. The source that feeds us. But the relationship between humans and the earth is also often tense. From land depletion and overproduction to land theft and (labour) exploitation. How can we re-ground ourselves in our environment? And how does that help us reconnect with each other? The group exhibition Soils addresses these questions. International artists, designers, farmers and activists are working to increase empathy for our lands.

Participating artists, activists and thinkers: Valiana Aguilar, BKP (Badan Kajian Pertanahan), Soph Boobyer, Peta Clancy, Megan Cope, Zena Cumpston, Erfgoed Brabant (Selim Haase, Luke Linssen, Jonathan Tjien Fooh, Cat de Win-Haase), Wapke Feenstra, Steffie de Gaetano and Giulia Pompilj, Lian Gogali and Institut Mosintuwu, D Harding, Diewke van den Heuvel, Jatiwangi art Factory, patricia kaersenhout, Moelyono, Myvillages, Hira Nabi, Tom Nicholson, Pluriversity Weavers (Dwanimako Arroyo Izquierdo, María Eufemia Arroyo Izquierdo, Dwasimney Del Carmen Izquierdo Torres, Seynawiku Izquierdo Torres, Ana Bravo Pérez, Aliki van der Kruijs, LI Yuchen, Aldo Ramos), Riar Rizaldi, Yurni Sadariah and the Sekolah Adat members and Rangan Adat communities, Dorieke Scheurs, Keg de Souza, Suumil Móokt'aan (Valiana Aguilar, Ángel Kú), The Resurrection Committee (Adelina Luft, Ovidiu Ţichindeleanu, Raluca Voinea), Rolando Vázquez, and Brooke Wandin.

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Badan Kajian Pertanahan (BKP), Cultural Acknowledgement of Land Ownership #1, 2023. Installation view, The Soils Project, TarraWarra Museum of Art, 2023. Courtesy the artists

Moelyono, Berkaca Dulu, 2020. Synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 170 x 270 cm. Courtesy the artist

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