In this earth-based series, Jo aims to encapsulate the spirit of Khumbu- the sun, the earth, and the water in her artistic process, and reminds her audience that our planet provides us with everything we need.

“By surrendering our daily wants and needs to commercial global systems we are gradually losing our ability to coexist harmoniously with our environment and the seasons. Its important to think about how we live on this earth. There is so much false economy that we are unable to see the true cost of what we consume. It may be impossible to get to the bottom of who is subsidising what and why, who is being exploited, but to know such a system exists is a revelation and can influence what and why we chose to buy and how we might reduce and reuse waste”.

Jo Rankine

Artist & Documentary Photographer

Jo Rankine

Artist & Documentary Photographer

During her tenure as an artist in residence in spring of 2023, Jo incorporated plastic and metal waste from the pits of Namche and Khumjung into her creations. The collection comprises 19 intricate art pieces, in which she skillfully incorporates the cyanotype technique – one of the oldest photographic printing processes in the history of photography, used chiefly in copying architectural and mechanical drawings, that produces a blue line on a white background. In this traditional method of drawing, projecting, and printing, she utilizes natural water and sunshine to develop the images. Jo uses contact printing with plastic negatives and meticulously binds her works to metal waste using traditional lotka paper, yak wool, and hemp yarn.

In this earth-based series, Jo’s aim is to capture the majestic beauty of the Himalayas and encapsulate the spirit of Khumbu- the sun, the earth, and the water in her artistic process. Through her work, she reminds her audience that our planet provides us with everything we need.

At its core, her art seeks to draw attention to the impact of the global commercial system on the natural ecosystem and raise concerns about our consumerism habits, and our planetary boundaries.

Messages in the art creation

Her creative expressions reflect her profound concerns about our human existence on this planet, the ongoing abuse of our relationship with both the Earth and each other. These concerns find a beautiful escape in her creations, where the mountains themselves become symbolic representations of what drives life in the Sagarmatha region and bring people to the region from all over the world.

She utilizes the yaks made of plastic as a poignant symbol of the changing life in the region. Once an integral part of the local lifestyle at higher altitudes, the yaks have now become largely insignificant. This serves as a powerful commentary on how we, as a society, have relinquished our understanding of our connection with the Earth. “By surrendering our reliance on commercial global systems, we are gradually losing our ability to coexist harmoniously with our environment.”

Jo’s exploration of the inherent beauty in ordinary life and her incorporation of plastic and metal waste into her art highlights her concerns about the impact of the global system on the natural ecosystem. The mountains and the plastic yaks act as visual representations, inviting viewers to contemplate the consequences of our actions and the urgency to restore balance in our relationship with the Earth.

Messages in the art creation

Her creative expressions reflect her profound concerns about our human existence on this planet, the ongoing abuse of our relationship with both the Earth and each other. These concerns find a beautiful escape in her creations, where the mountains themselves become symbolic representations of what drives life in the Sagarmatha region and bring people to the region from all over the world.

She utilizes the yaks made of plastic as a poignant symbol of the changing life in the region. Once an integral part of the local lifestyle at higher altitudes, the yaks have now become largely insignificant. This serves as a powerful commentary on how we, as a society, have relinquished our understanding of our connection with the Earth. “By surrendering our reliance on commercial global systems, we are gradually losing our ability to coexist harmoniously with our environment.”

Jo’s exploration of the inherent beauty in ordinary life and her incorporation of plastic and metal waste into her art highlights her concerns about the impact of the global system on the natural ecosystem. The mountains and the plastic yaks act as visual representations, inviting viewers to contemplate the consequences of our actions and the urgency to restore balance in our relationship with the Earth.

Art in the process

Art in the process

Jo’s work is driven by the cautious message of conscious-consumerism. Greatly moved by the provenance of things and the stories they hold, in her creations waste becomes a link to the past and gains a new life as she tries to uncover the lives that the discarded materials must have touched.

In Mountains I have Climbed, Jo breathes new life into a discarded cramp-on from the 1980s. Her pursuit revolves around unraveling the life that the metal crampon once led. Whose foot was it attached to? The cramp-on enabled a person to ascend a mountain, and now, discarded, it carries the essence of hidden existence. The object, though unseen, possesses a vitality of its own.

Tin Peaks showcases a blue and white cyanotype mountain print on lotka paper nestled within a geometric tin box. Contemplating the box’s owner and their story, Jo emphasizes that there is a tale waiting to be discovered, a narrative locked within the unknown.

In Ama Dablam Jo incorporates discarded metal waste from oil cans while pondering the type of oil they once contained and the number of people nourished by it. She utilizes building waste to add texture to the depiction of the mountain. By doing so, she prompts reflection on the impact of our consumer choices and the interconnectedness between our actions and the environment.

Experience at Sagarmatha Next

“Art is usually a solitary process, but at Sagarmatha Next, meeting visitors and artists making art out of waste was a real motivational and heart-warming experience. Having a space to make successful pieces with waste was such a gift.”

Jo hopes that her work will inspire others who have not previously considered using waste in art to explore this approach. “There are so many people coming to the Sagarmatha region, either to trek or to summit Everest. With the incoming of people, there is also an influx of waste. If you can start small conversations then bigger conversations can start. If someone had not used waste in art before they can probably start using waste in art. Others can see that waste is not just a waste it can also be a resource and more than a thing that can be thrown away.”

Currently based in Shanghai, China, Jo’s fascination with the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau continues to drive her artistic endeavors. Mountains will remain a central theme in her work, and she plans to keep capturing their essence in her creations.

Jo’s artwork was sold to buyers around the world. Her collection made at Sagarmatha Next included 19 pieces, 18 of which were sold and 1 was donated to our art gallery. The remaining pieces can be seen on display in our gallery and purchased by contacting us.

Experience at Sagarmatha Next

“Art is usually a solitary process, but at Sagarmatha Next, meeting visitors and artists making art out of waste was a real motivational and heart-warming experience. Having a space to make successful pieces with waste was such a gift.”

Jo hopes that her work will inspire others who have not previously considered using waste in art to explore this approach. “There are so many people coming to the Sagarmatha region, either to trek or to summit Everest. With the incoming of people, there is also an influx of waste. If you can start small conversations then bigger conversations can start. If someone had not used waste in art before they can probably start using waste in art. Others can see that waste is not just a waste it can also be a resource and more than a thing that can be thrown away.”

Currently based in Shanghai, China, Jo’s fascination with the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau continues to drive her artistic endeavors. Mountains will remain a central theme in her work, and she plans to keep capturing their essence in her creations.

Jo’s artwork was sold to buyers around the world. Her collection made at Sagarmatha Next included 19 pieces, 18 of which were sold and 1 was donated to our art gallery. The remaining pieces can be seen on display in our gallery and purchased by contacting us.

“By surrendering our daily wants and needs to commercial global systems we are gradually losing our ability to coexist harmoniously with our environment and the seasons. Its important to think about how we live on this earth. There is so much false economy that we are unable to see the true cost of what we consume. It may be impossible to get to the bottom of who is subsidising what and why, who is being exploited, but to know such a system exists is a revelation and can influence what and why we chose to buy and how we might reduce and reuse waste.”

About the artist

Jo Rankine

About the artist
Jo Rankine

Jo Rankine is an artist and a documentarian who uses photography and its unique traditional and contemporary techniques to convey her story. Jo’s artistic journey, beginning in 1994, takes her on a quest to uncover the inherent beauty in ordinary aspects of life.

Originally from Australia and residing in Shanghai for over five years, Jo finds herself captivated and inspired by people, places, and everyday objects that may appear mundane to the average observer. Jo’s profound fascination with the beauty of everyday life is vividly reflected in her remarkable body of work. She captures the extraordinary beauty of the mundane moments, pieces of which can be referred to during her travels through Asia, including China, Tibet, and Nepal.

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