Spoke Art SF is pleased to present First World Cargo Cult, a solo exhibition by Oakland-based artist Peter Adamyan. This new collection is inspired by the burden of cargo and mass-production, examined through the lens of colonialism, indigenous spirituality, and environmental decay. The artist’s trademark integration of found materials, wood mosaics, and irregular geometric frames highlights his deep reverence for nature, ecological preservation, and all the original BIPOC stewards of land.
As always, Adamyan’s clever brand of irony ridicules the selfishness, greed, and corruption of Man as he turns his back on Mother Nature. Drawn in by the artist’s humor and absurdity, viewers are craftily trapped into admitting their role in the very same System on trial - as he ridicules the descent of humanity, viewers have no choice but to reflect on their own cog in the self-destructive machine. We confess that we have bit the hand that feeds us, and we will bite it again, for the alternative of “standard 7-10 day shipping” transcends any earthly pain imaginable. Thus, to appreciate Adamyan’s work is to admit defeat - he has bested us yet again.
Adamyan explains: “The first version of what would later regrettably be called a ‘cargo cult’ arose in Melanesia, which includes islands like Papua New Guinea and Fiji. When colonists arrived on the islands they brought mass produced goods along with them… These generally egalitarian, hunter-gatherer, lightly agricultural societies had their way of life disrupted by colonialism, globalization, and capitalism and interpreted the production of the cargo as best they could from their [spiritual] understanding of the world. Many in the west may find their lack of understanding of how these goods are manufactured laughable, but I would wager many in western civilization are just as ignorant of the manufacturing process behind many of the products they feel entitled to. From the minerals mined to create their cell phones, the petroleum used for the plastic forks thrown into their take out, and the textiles produced and assembled in sweatshops for the fast fashion world of today, modern society’s exploitation of the world’s resources for cheap cargo has put a heavy burden on the health of our planet and to those less fortunate, forced to earn their living manufacturing and delivering our cheap cargo.
A global shipping network creates unfathomable amounts of waste and exploitation for workers, coalescing in the convenience of next-day-delivery for Prime members. We have our own rituals to bring in our cargo, while unaware of its impact on our planet, humanity at large, and our own personal humanity. The reliance on mass-produced goods leads us to no longer rely on our own abilities of survival and, more importantly, gives us the illusion that we do not rely on each other or the planet for this survival. This is the dogma of the first world cargo cult: the selfish entitlement to goods based on the ritualistic exchange of capital, built on the backs of unsustainable economic and ecological systems.”
First World Cargo Cult will be on view Saturday, December 5th through Saturday, December 26th, 2020 and will debut with a livestream tour / artist Q&A via @Spoke_Art’s Instagram on December 12th at 2 pm Pacific.