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Caspian photo exhibit by Chloe Dewe Mathews opens at Harvard museum
Goldfish on sale in the days before Nowruz, the Persian New Year. Goldfish in a glass bowl is one of the symbolic objects displayed on household tables throughout the New Year period. Ramsar, Iran, 2015. Courtesy Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University. © Chloe Dewe Mathews.

CAMBRIDGE, MASS.- Caspian: The Elements is a new exhibit featuring the evocative imagery of Chloe Dewe Mathews, the 2014 recipient of the Peabody Museum’s Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography. The exhibit documents her extraordinary five-year journey through the contested borderlands of the Caspian Sea.

"Chloe Dewe Mathews’s exhibit will immerse the viewer into the striking Caspian landscape through enormous murals of ice flows, rocky terrain, raging fire, and viscous oil," said Ilisa Barbash, the Peabody Museum's Curator of Visual Anthropology. "Photographs of people living and working in these landscapes communicate their complex relationship with their environment." The exhibit reveals the essential role played by elemental materials like oil, rock, and uranium in the practical, artistic, spiritual, and therapeutic aspects of daily life. Caspian: The Elements is a powerful photographic narrative that explores the deep links between the peoples of the Caspian and their enigmatic and coveted landscapes.

“The views of people and lands are striking, even startling. They are beautiful and terrifying and always enthralling,” said Jeffrey Quilter, the William and Muriel Seabury Howells Director of the Peabody Museum. Dewe Mathews’ fellowship work “is an outstanding example of contemporary photography that both embraces and breaks through the boundaries of documentary, ethnography, and fine art.“

The exhibit opened Saturday, April 27, 2019 at Harvard University's Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology and will remain on view through Monday, February 17, 2020.

Chloe Dewe Mathews (born in London, 1982) is an artist, photographer, and filmmaker based in St. Leonards-on-Sea, England. Her work has been published in the Guardian and Financial Times, and has been exhibited at the Tate Modern and British Library, London; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; and Stattliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden, Germany.

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