5 Climate Change Artists to add to your Radar
Around the world, landscapes are changing, and human actions are the cause. Our access to information seems to be limitless but we are slowly losing our connection with the earth and nature. Several years after the over-pollution of oceans, encroachment of the wild and increased resource consumption, climate reality is gaining momentum around the globe. A global fight against the climate crisis is taking its root among people who are consciously altering their lifestyles and choices.
It is difficult to visualize climate change. For a very long time, an image of a lone polar bear amidst melting icebergs has been the spokesperson for global warming. But the effects of climate change cannot be contained to a single region or species. It is vital for all the spectators of the world to see the impact of the climate crisis beyond the polar caps. Artists are one crowd that has found the motivation to transmit this call for help. Here are five artists whose works have explicit marks of environmentalism in this new age of climate change artists:
The Los Angeles-based artist, Courtney Mattison, creates large-scale wall structures. Comprised of porcelain and clay pieces, her installations depict marine coral life. Her colourful and delicate installations also feature white and grey interruptions. This absence of colour showcases the unfortunate reality of the corals getting bleached.
In the next 20 years, corals are predicted to reduce by 70 to 90%, thanks to climate change and global warming. The acidic and warm waters which are a consequence of climate change are causing the corals to get more stressed by throwing off the delicate balance of their habitats. It also throws off the symbiotic relationship corals share with the zooxanthellae which are microscopic algae responsible for the colour of the corals. When the zooxanthellae get expelled, the colour disappears. The corals losing their colour is visual evidence of climate change and this is what the artist calls attention to.
Michael Pinsky is a British artist who has developed immersive and experiential art projects that have been exhibited internationally raising him to critical acclaim. His projects challenge the status quo on climate change, urban design, and societal well-being. His art is influenced by its surroundings, the environment, the people and the Political equations, giving his projects depth in relation to environmental and social activism.
His recent installation, the Pollution Pods, raises alarm about the declining air quality around the world. The Pollution Pods are five interconnected geodesic domes that contain carefully synthesized environments that replicate the atmospheric conditions of five different regions. Visitors travel dome to dome in the direction of deteriorating air quality. Visitors begin in Tautra, Norway, breathing in fresh air before traveling to London, New Delhi, Beijing, and Sao Paulo, the big cities that are reputed for some of the worst air quality in the world.
Joyce Majiski is an artist from Canada. Her previous careers as a biologist and wilderness guide in the Yukon Territory, Canada have influenced her art. The context of her works is usually global environmental concerns, and her works reflect her connection to the wilderness and northern landscapes where she has spent a considerable duration of her life.
The ‘Song Of The Whale’ is a life-size reconstruction of a juvenile humpback whale made entirely of plastics and styrofoam salvaged from the ocean through beach clean-ups. She replicated the young whale, who drowned in a herring net, using photographs as references. The project highlights human-initiated threats to ocean habitats and the environment. The project highlights the human inability to deal with garbage and respect the global environment. The failure to realize even the most visible harmful impacts that we have on the environment is something the artist wants to change. Even for Majiski, the process of making this work was a deep dive into paying even more attention to her own consumer choices and the repercussions of how she lives on this planet.
Rachel Sussman is a contemporary artist based in Brooklyn. Her projects are underscored by environmentalism. The climate crisis is something that is close to her intellectually and through her work, she aims to spread awareness about the sheer brutality of climate change.
Her project, ‘The Oldest Living Things in the World,’ combined art with science and philosophical concepts like deep time. For her project, she spent a decade documenting the world’s oldest living things, traveling to deserts and islands and photographing organisms that are 2,000 years old or older. The organisms captured by her have survived the harshest environments for thousands of years but are now threatened by the climate crisis. Her work enunciates the earth’s past, by showcasing some of the oldest organisms to know earth as home, as well as warns us about everything that we are about to lose.
Cai Guo-Qiang is a Chinese artist proficient in a variety of mediums. His artwork often combines scholarly and politically charged themes. He is renowned to have originated gunpowder art and is known all over the world for his explosive art, making him one of the most famous contemporary artists today. He hasn't been shied to reveal that he cares deeply about global environmental issues although his approach is more subtle and unconventional. In his performances, gunpowder drawings and installations, he explores human aggression and the status of humans as antagonists to nature.
Clear Sky Black Cloud was a series of explosion events over six days. Through this performative art, we are reminded of the cycles of environmental destruction in history. The explosions channel the sentiments evoked by the reality of rising temperatures within the context of climate change. His captivating visual language speaks volumes about the traces of violence against nature and our future, a spectator might presume that Cai's idea about the future of the earth's environment is violently dark. He invites us to ponder ways to disrupt this cycle of human destruction throughout history.
With so many artists engaging in this non-invasive protest the lack of prominent action against climate change, it is not justified to condense it to a few representative artists and artworks. Climate change art is revolutionary, and the artists are noble in their usage of the artistic medium to translate the pains of the earth into a language we can comprehend. Climate change is a reality, and it is imperative we heal the Earth.