Supply Chain Portraits
Christopher Evans’ Supply Chain Portraits chart the rough, intricate terrain of relationships between consumers, natural resources, indigenous tribes, and the world’s poor living at the precarious, jagged edge of the global economy. Each painting begins with a substance that is a simple part of the artist’s own daily life: the gasoline in his car, the wood of his kitchen table, or the paint on his canvas. Hundreds of drawings, sub-paintings, and texts are arranged in concentric arcs forming a web of connections from Evans himself to specific individuals at the other end of each global supply chain.
In Pipeline (Gasoline) a young mother in Nigeria’s oil-rich Delta gleans gasoline from a rusty, ruptured pipeline with a baby asleep on her back- just moments before the pipeline explodes in flame. In Family Trees (Lumber) Penan tribal leader Along Sega and his granddaughter survey the destruction of their forest home in the jungles of Borneo from the stump of a fallen hardwood tree. In Cobalt Blue (Paint) a miner in the Democratic Republic of the Congo emerges from a rocky hole where he digs the “conflict minerals” from which both cell phone electronics and the cobalt blue pigment used in artists oil paints are manufactured. One way to “read” the Supply Chain Portraits is from left to right – like an industrial production flow chart. At far left is the point of origin for the raw materials; at far right is the artist’s self-portrait as the consumer. In an arc along the bottom of the canvas stretches a negative paradigm of unchecked greed, destruction, and death; across the top a positive paradigm of real-world solutions: fair trade, sustainable production, and social justice.