A Journey Through “Green Snake” Exhibition in Hong Kong

In the heart of Hong Kong, at Tai Kwun Contemporary, an ambitious exhibition titled “Green Snake: Women-Centered Ecologies” weaves a narrative that transcends boundaries between humanity and the natural world. Spearheaded by Chengdu-based artists Cao Minghao and Chen Jianjun’s evocative two-channel video installation, “Back to Mu Village‘s Fairy Big Lake,” the show delves deep into Indigenous traditions and their relationship with the environment. Here, a disembodied voice narrates a Tibetan herder ritual, underscoring the urgent need to reconcile with nature in the face of environmental degradation.

Curated with meticulous care, “Green Snake” showcases the works of over 30 artists from 20 countries, inviting viewers to explore the intricate connections between Indigenous communities and their ecosystems. Despite geographical distances, the exhibition highlights the shared heritage and wisdom that bind these cultures across time and space. Through diverse mediums ranging from murals to sculptures, the artists blur the lines between cultures and ecologies, fostering a dialogue that transcends borders.

One striking example is Indian artist Rohini Devasher’s mural, “Genetic Drift: Symbiont III – Serpentes Parthenocissus,” which adorns the exhibition’s entrance. Depicting a harmonious coexistence of animals and plants, the mural sets the tone for the exploration of symbiotic relationships within nature. Similarly, works like Cecilia Vicuña’s “Bike Serpent” and Karan Shrestha’s “cloud babies” juxtapose human-made materials with natural elements, offering poignant reflections on consumerism and traditional wisdom.

At the core of “Green Snake” are rituals of redress, where artists draw inspiration from ancient traditions to address contemporary environmental challenges. Through mediums such as puppetry and video installations, they evoke a sense of loss and resilience, urging communities to reclaim their connection to the land. Notable pieces like Gidree Bawlee’s “Lost Shadows” and Seba Calfuqueo’s “TRAY TRAY KO” delve into the spiritual significance of water and land, highlighting the enduring struggle for Indigenous sovereignty.

The exhibition reaches its crescendo with visions of the future guided by Indigenous voices. Collaborations like Stephanie Comilang and Simon Speiser’s “Piña, Why is the Sky Blue?” blend technology with ancestral knowledge, offering immersive experiences that challenge conventional narratives of progress. Through virtual reality and interactive installations, viewers are invited to inhabit Indigenous perspectives, fostering a profound understanding of humanity’s interconnectedness with nature.

As visitors exit the exhibition, they are reminded of the fluid boundaries that define “Green Snake.” Devasher’s mural, stretching across the space, serves as a symbolic link between the past, present, and future—a testament to the enduring power of art to inspire change and connection.

In “Green Snake,” art transcends mere aesthetics, becoming a catalyst for dialogue and transformation. Through its exploration of Indigenous ecologies, the exhibition invites viewers to reimagine their relationship with the natural world, forging a path towards a more sustainable and harmonious future.