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Betsiboka Delta

Leslie Sobel


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Betsiboka Delta

Abstracted river delta that will remind you of a flower or an octopus with its tendrils of channels weaving in and out. I've never been to the Betsiboka River in Indonesia but working from astronaut photography makes me want to go there!

21.5"H × 22.5"W × 0.15"D
Mixed Media
Mixed - digital print with encaustic on paper


My current mixed media practice is a poetic response to the intersection of flooding/ pollution and climate change in two watersheds — Lake Erie (near me) and the Mississippi Watershed into the Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone. The interconnectedness of our actions and our environment is at the core of my work, which both incorporates scientific data related to the watersheds and is an outpouring of my grief for damaged places. I am interested in the dynamic balance of (and sometimes even the tension between) scientific visioning and emotional processing I have been responding to these damaged waterways and before the COVID-19 pandemic, I would have said climate change is the existential issue of our time. Today I would recast that more broadly– climate change, all environmental damage, pollution, profligate overuse of resources, as well as viral outbreaks are all related to issues of poor human stewardship to the interconnected planet. The confluence of human impact on significant natural regions and my response to them is the central focus of my work. Working in mixed media is related to that underlying concept. Whether it’s climate, land use/stewardship or a pandemic we are all linked and all of our collective actions, trauma and effort are connected. As an artist, I bear witness to what we are losing and imagine ways to mitigate the losses creatively, lovingly and honestly.

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