With March being #IWD month, I’ve spent several days scouring the internet for inspiring stories of creative women using their art to raise awareness about climate change. Here are two videos — one from the west coast, one from the east coast — which highlight the important contribution that women artists are making to the global climate change conversation.
Australian Margaret Wertheim’s amazing TED talk describes the global hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef (CCR) project which she and her twin sister Christine created and curate through their Institute For Figuring (IFF) in Los Angeles, California. The CCR is an ongoing, experimental, participative feminine handicraft project that re-creates coral reefs using the technique of “hyperbolic crochet“. Below are two images from the IFF’s Crochet Coral Reef website, reprinted here with permission:
According to the IFF website, this unique fiber arts project is “the nexus of maths, handicrafts, environmentalism, community art, feminism and science” and, simultaneously, “a testimony to the disappearing wonders of the marine world” due to climate change, notably ocean warming, acidification and pollution.
On the other side of the country, the American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)’ art gallery is currently hosting a five-month exhibition called Voyage of Discovery, through 31 May 2014. This collaborative exhibit by three Washington, D.C. artists — Michele Banks, Jessica Beels and Ellyn Weiss – provides an artistic interpretation of climate change that transports gallery visitors to a shifting polar region “where the iconic, seemingly eternal, landscape of ice and snow is in profound and rapid transition due to climate change.”
A lovely review of Voyage of Discovery by the Huffington Post includes several images of the diverse media used by these three artists, including these two very different works:
According to the AAAS gallery website: ”The artwork in Voyage of Discovery has its roots in the idea of a journey of scientific exploration, in the tradition of Darwin, Wallace, and the thousands of scientists who constantly travel the globe in search of new findings… The pieces in this show… are not strictly based on scientific data. They reflect the artists’ responses to the transformation of land and sea – the melting of glaciers and the thawing of permafrost, the movement of previously unknown species and microbes into the region, the dramatic shifts of the color of the land from white to green to black. The artwork takes a broad view of these changes: the artists are deeply aware of the damage done by climate change, yet intrigued by the possibilities of what lies below the ice and snow.”
Artists and Climate Change is a blog by playwright Chantal Bilodeau that tracks artistic responses from all disciplines to the problem of climate change. It is both a study about what is being done, and a resource for anyone interested in the subject. Art has the power to reframe the conversation about our environmental crisis so it is inclusive, constructive, and conducive to action. Art can, and should, shape our values and behavior so we are better equipped to face the formidable challenge in front of us.
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