Explore a quirky world of colour in the work of Scarlett Hooft Graafland. A recent show at the Flowers Gallery, London, featured an overview of ten years of her work, which examines the intersection of nature and culture with wit and visual inventiveness. Images in the show were taken in locations including the salt desert of Bolivia, the Canadian Arctic, the island of Madagascar and the remote shores of Vanuatu. “What pushes me to explore remote places is my nostalgia for regions that are still completely natural,” the artist says. “Places that are untouched, where humans have hardly intervened. I’m fascinated by how people manage to endure and survive in spite of circumstances that are often rough and rigorous.”
Often working with local assistants, her strange, often other-worldly images use her sharp eye for colour and form, and are informed by information about the local culture supplied during the working process. “I often want to capture an essential aspect of the local community and set it off against the surrounding natural environment,” she explains. “That way, by showing isolated, culturally meaningful objects in the context of an untamable, ever changing natural world, I try to relate to the essential experience of being.” From a richly-coloured ‘carpet’ made of spices in the eerie white of Bolivian salt flats to the arresting image of two men and a camel swathed in pink silk, shot in the United Arab Emirates, her work examines issues of place, custom and migration with striking colour and a surreal sense of humour.
See more of Scarlett’s work, including books and film commissions, on her website.