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Gideon Mendel: Drowning World, May 1-Oct. 17, 2021 

A unique photographic exploration of flooding around the world 

PHILADELPHIA, March 19, 2021

A unique photographic exploration of the impact of flooding on communities around the world due to climate events opens Saturday, May 1 at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. 


Gideon Mendel: Drowning World is a stark portrayal of the human condition within the context of climate change. The exhibition features 37 color photographs, two found-object displays, and a video that is the culmination of 10 years of work by award-winning photographer Gideon Mendel. The images depict some of the poorest and some of the wealthiest communities in the world, all exposed to the floodwater that envelops them. 


A native of South Africa, Mendel began photographing major floods in 2007 when one in England and another in India occurred within two weeks of each other. Their proximity struck him as a shared vulnerability that seemed to unite people. Mendel continued to photograph and document flood zones around the world visiting Haiti (2008), Pakistan (2010), Australia and Thailand (2011), Nigeria (2012), Germany and The Philippines (2013), England and India (2014), Brazil and Bangladesh (2015) and France (2016 and 2018). 


He photographed flooding in the U.S. in 2015 and again in 2017 in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Harvey’s destruction in Texas and Hurricane Irma’s wrath in Florida, two Category 4 hurricanes that made continental landfall in the same year for the first time since records began in 1851. 


Drowning World represents both a literal and allegorical means of documenting the tension between the personal and the global effects of climate change, according to MendelHis portraits tend towards the more compositionally traditional in that the subject or group of subjects face the camera and gaze directly at the viewer while surrounded by flood water. 


“Climate change is an urgent global crisis that we must address. Drowning World presents an artistic avenue to reach people through the shared humanity revealed through the camera lens,” said Academy President and CEO Scott Cooper. “The exhibit is particularly fitting this year as the Academy and Drexel University mark 2021 as Climate Year.” 


Gideon Mendel: Drowning World is on view through Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021. It was curated by Caitlín Doherty for the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, a cultural institute of the University of North Florida, in 2018 



To download imagesvisit the Press Room.  

Media are invited to interview Gideon Mendel. To schedule an interview, contact Public Relations.   


News media contact: 
Carolyn Belardo, Director of Public Relations, The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University  
215-299-1043,, | Twitter @AcadNatSciPR | Press Room: 


Founded in 1812, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is a leading natural history museum dedicated to informing and building a movement of environmentally engaged communities for a healthy, sustainable and equitable planet. 


HOURS: Fridays 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Saturdays 9 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sundays 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The first hour of each day is reserved for members. ADMISSION: $18 and up; for online tickets visit PHONE: 215-299-1000