Born in Montreal in 1963
Genghis Khan, Inner Mongolia
Ink-jet print, 4/12
101.8 x 142 cm
Gift of Benoit Aquin, inv. 2009.237
The Montreal artist Benoit Aquin, well-known in both Canada and abroad, has been awarded numerous prizes, including the famous Prix Pictet. He cares about environmental issues and the human stories connected to them. With its characteristic storms of yellow dust, the Chinese dust bowl is today the visual record of an enormous environmental catastrophe. The desertification of the Chinese steppes stretches from Inner Mongolia to the western provinces. Although deserts occupy nearly twenty percent of China’s territory, a quarter of them have been caused by the overexploitation of arable land. Once stripped, the earth is blown about by spring winds from the north of China in giant dust storms, creating surreal, striking scenes. It takes two centuries for the land to recover. The loss of arable land, invaluable for the country’s agriculture, is responsible for the rising levels of pollution in the cities and beyond.