New Progress

New Progress was a site-specific installation at the Smallest Gallery in Soho, on show from February to March 2018. The work was a collaboration with fellow artist Dan Sansome.


New Progress is a direct translation of the name of Novo Progresso, one of many communities which formed in the Amazon as rainforest was cleared for mining and agriculture.


Large-scale deforestation is a stark example of the impacts we are causing in the environment to fulfil our hunger for resources. Nearly half of the world's original forest cover has already been destroyed, and natural forest is currently being lost at a rate of around 6.5 million hectares per year. Agriculture is the largest single cause of deforestation. Around the world, forests are being cleared to grow oil palm, soy, rubber, coffee, tea, rice and other crops, and plantations are expanding to meet rising demand. 

A pile of golden coffee beans sits at the centre of the space, supported by a stack of pallets and surrounded by a backdrop of burnt and damaged wood. In this way, the work aims to reflect how our society values the commodities we can harvest from nature, while we discard the rest in the name of progress.


© 2019 Helen Oakman. All rights reserved. 

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