A day from now, leaders and officials from around the world will gather in Paris in hopes of creating a new climate agreement that sets stronger targets on carbon emissions of the future. And the timing of their meeting couldn’t be more urgent. From polar ice melting to rising sea levels, mankind’s relationship with the shore is changing in unthinkable ways. Showing us just how much is at stake, below are five artists and their impacting expressions on climate.
Underwater sculptor, Jason deCaires Tailor, is no stranger to our ocean’s subtleties. Ahead of the Cancun climate conference in 2010, Tailor installed the world’s first underwater museum (now artificial reef), in an effort to divert human impacts from sensitive coral reefs. His interactive sculptures are renowned worldwide for demonstrating mankind’s interaction with nature and need for conservation.
This September, Tailor’s “Rising Tide” along the Thames in London featured the ominous presence of suited men on oil horses; a clever wordplay and reference to our industrialized way of life.
Painting from a paddleboard, Hawaiian-born Sean Yoro (street name, Hula) recently lent his brushes to the outdoor elements – a slight contrast from his traditional urban canvas. In his latest portrait series, A’o ‘Ana or Hawaiian for “The Warning”, naked beauty meets evanescent glacier, and a cautionary tone is cast along the waterline.
"A'o 'Ana" Series of murals painted on a few of the thousands of icebergs freshly broken off from a nearby glacier. In the short time I was there, I witnessed the extreme melting rate first hand as the sound of ice cracking was a constant background noise while painting. Within a few weeks these murals will be forever gone, but for those who find them, I hope they ignite a sense of urgency, as they represent the millions of people in need of our help who are already being affected from the rising sea levels of Climate Change. See the full adventure at byhula.com
3. ISAAC CORDAL
Spanish artist, Isaac Cordal, puts one of the world’s largest problems to scale in his “Waiting for Climate Change” series. Through his urban positioning of tiny human sculptures (cement eclipses), Cordal shows that perspective makes all the difference when solving our world’s problems. In his interview with Phaidon, he explains: “Cement Eclipses is a critique of our behaviour as a social mass. It refers to this collective inertia that leads us to think that our small actions cannot change anything. But I believe that every small act can contribute to a big change.”
4. NELE AZEVEDO
As part of a 2009 World Wildlife Fund campaign on global warming, Brazilian artist, Nele Azevedo placed 1,000 ice sculptures on Berlin’s concert hall steps – their melting bodies a dire warning for the unprecedented rate in sea-level rise expected to occur if stronger action on climate is not taken.
5. ZARIA FORMAN
Zaria Forman’s paintings and pastels of glaciers highlight one of the most vulnerable landscapes on Earth affected by climate change. Currently serving as an artist-in-residence on the National Geographic Explorer, Forman explained, “My drawings explore moments of transition, turbulence, and tranquility in the landscape, allowing viewers to emotionally connect with a place they may never have the chance to visit. I choose to convey the beauty, as opposed to the devastation, of threatened places. If people can experience the sublimity of these landscapes, perhaps they will be inspired to protect and preserve them.”
Note: Blog post previously featured on UN Climate Talks Live