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Joyce Yamada

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In 1933 Hitler became chancellor; in 2017 Trump was inaugurated president. Though we have escaped an immediate second term, the underlying forces are still very much with us. The connection between Trump and fascism was manifested early in 2017 when one of the first things Trump did was to block public access to climate change research; this is analogous to book-burning, also one of the first things Hitler instituted. A conscienceless tyrant will bury both truth and dissent. I was in part inspired by the book On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder, a renowned historian of fascism. Democracy is fragile; he offers a short pithy guide for surviving and resisting tyranny. It is very helpful to identify, understand, and to resist the early manifestations of a tyrant, to know the signs and to resist manipulation. The 1933/2017 drawings contain references to white supremacy, environmental destruction, the ascendency of Big Business, lies, hatred, and self-serving shady characters.

Joyce Yamada (American, b.1949) is a Brooklyn-based visual artist working in both painting and multi-media installation. Profoundly interested in science, ecology, and the environment, she explores the interaction between humans and the remainder of the natural world, questioning how and why we are currently so destructive to other life forms and to the natural systems that have, until our ascendancy, nurtured the astonishing biodiversity of life on earth. She celebrates what still can be saved, and laments our strong tendencies towards conflict, arrogance, and irrationality.


Cataclysm is funded in part by the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs


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