Throughout the ’90s my work took me to the slums and ghettos of the developing world to explore issues surrounding street children and child labour. I was then, and remain now, inspired by the resilience and adaptive skills of humanity at the edge of existence. The ability, against all the odds, to negotiate the chaos and structures of the urban environment left a deep and lasting mark on my visual memory.
As I witnessed the dual engines of the shift of rural dwellers to a new
army of urban residents — combined with the migration of power from the old
economies of the North and West to the new of the East and South — it became
clear that the urban giants of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) economies
were the defining human spaces of our time.
Indeed, the cities of the developing world will account for 95% of urban growth in the next decades. These mega-cities are, at once, possible saviors to millions of desperately poor people, the engines of growth for the old economies of the North, and potential masters of our destruction. They represent the most significant change factor in global poverty reduction while also standing as insatiable centers of consumption and innovation.
These spaces, and the movements of produce and ideas that define their
birth and survival, have been the center of my practice for 20 years.
Emotionally and environmentally, these migrations are so huge that no single image can define their influence. So I have endeavored to create new visual languages within which I can communicate their truth. The results are my "BRIC", "Exodus", "Stadia" and "Hinterland" series, which depict landscapes without horizons, built from a myriad of perspectives, each one familiar to the inhabitants of these environments and yet intriguingly new.
In "Exodus", I'm exploring the most significant migrations of the
early 21st century.
As the ability of humans, goods and services to circumnavigate the planet increases exponentially we are left disconnected from a simple view of our common identity. Indeed, as our economic and geo-political differences intensify, the unstoppable movement and expansion of actual and digital assets challenge the power of the individual in society, the state and corporations to control opinions, actions and environments.
Exodus provokes questions concerning the biggest changes in contemporary society through large-scale representations of the key themes that influence globalization in the modern world.
— Marcus Lyon