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Climate change has become a defining issue of our time, and artists have been using their craft to engage with the subject in a fresh, compelling way. Across the world, impactful exhibits are showcasing the many ways artists can grapple with environmental issues in an intimate and poetic way, provoking reflections and raising awareness.
In South Korea, celebrated artist Maya Lin investigates and visualizes water in various forms in her first solo show in the country, “Maya Lin: Nature Knows No Boundaries.” She uses water, an eternal symbol of time and contemplation, to question resource scarcity and climate precarity in our times. Meanwhile, the “Navigating North” exhibit in Helsinki features works by 48 artists from and working in northern Finland, exploring the relationship between humans and nature.
In New York, “The Yanomami Struggle” exhibit offers a new perspective on climate justice, showcasing the fight of artists of the Yanomami tribe for preserving rainforests and Indigenous rights over the past five decades. The exhibit includes more than 80 drawings alongside Brazilian photographer Claudia Andujar’s documentation of the Yanomami struggle, exploring how art can connect with environmental activism.
At the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art in South Brisbane, Australia, the “Air” exhibit features more than 30 Australian and international artists exploring the form and meaning of air through art. The exhibit raises questions about air Pollution and Global warming, delving into an area that has become a focal point for many during the pandemic as concerns about airborne transmission of the virus have grown.
In Columbus, Ohio, the “Art Spot” exhibit showcases Climate change issues through various visual interpretations in storefront windows. Red paper cutouts, hand-embroidered couture gowns, walls of flowers or magnolia leaves, lamps made of translucent paper – these are some of the varied, vivid themes being explored, from deforestation to extreme weather to coral bleaching to insect decline.
At the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, the “Kind Words Can Never Die” exhibit uses color as a new language to address Climate change through courtyard murals created by artist Navine G. Dossos. Dossos collected climate data charts and diagrams and transformed them into new visual representations of the intimate, psychological effects of ecological change.
In Frankfurt, Germany, the “Healing: Life in Balance” exhibit showcases climate solutions through various art forms, including an installation made of 464 blue plastic waste objects collected along Mexico’s coast and a film portraying relations between human flesh, stone, and wind, among others.
Finally, the “Our Ecology” exhibit at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo examines severe environmental issues neglected during Japan’s booming era from the 1950s to ’70s. The exhibit poses the fundamental questions of who we are and to whom the Earth’s environment belongs, featuring works by artists like Agnes Denes who planted and harvested two acres of wheat in Manhattan as a protest against Global warming and economic disparity in 1982.
Art has the power to inspire, provoke, and motivate, and the exhibits above are just a small sample of the many ways artists are engaging with Climate change. As individuals, we can Support their efforts by patronizing these exhibits and discussing their messages with our friends and families. We can also take action in our daily lives, reducing our carbon footprint and advocating for policies that protect our planet. By working together, we can create a more sustainable future for all.
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