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Art

Splash and Burn: An Artist-Led Initiative Raising Awareness About the Negative Effects of Palm Oil Production in South Asia

May 4, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Drone footage still of “Save Our Souls” by Ernest Zacharevic. All images provided by Splash and Burn.

Indonesia is the world’s largest exporter of palm oil, the harvesting of which has been shown to have extremely adverse effects on wildlife and natural resources, including deforestation, fires, and the displacement of people and animals. Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic (previously) witnessed this devastation during his time spent photographing and traveling throughout the country, and decided to found the initiative Splash and Burn to spread public awareness about the resource’s inhumane production.

“A state of global environmental crisis is defining our generation,” Zacharevic tells Colossal. “As consumers, we are so disconnected from the source of our commodities that we do not recognize the impact of our daily choices. This project is an effort to bridge that gap.”

"Save Our Souls" (2018) by Ernest Zacharevic

“Save Our Souls” (2018) by Ernest Zacharevic

The organization’s name comes from slash-and-burn, the cheap practice of burning land to clear the way for new plantations, a method that releases toxic smoke, and has been linked to more than 500,000 respiratory infections. For two years Zacharevic researched these issues effecting Indonesia’s population, meeting with NGOs, locals, and wildlife sites to educate himself on the organizations fighting against the practices and attempting to heal from their destruction.

After researching the area and its local organizations, like the Orangutan Information Centre, the Lithuanian artist invited several fellow creatives to respond to the native landscape and the palm oil crisis through art installations. Since February, international artists have created murals, sculptures, and other works throughout Sumatra. Pieces include an orangutan mural painted by VHILS, Isaac Cordal’s miniature hazmat suit installation, and Zacharevic’s plantation intervention in which he inserted the message SOS into the landscape’s trees.

Mural by Alexandre Farto aka VHILS, image credit: Ernest Zacharevic

Mural by Alexandre Farto aka VHILS, image credit: Ernest Zacharevic

“I wanted to communicate the magnitude of the problem to a wider audience, as well as provide creative outlook, hope, and inspiration to local communities and conservationists,” says Zacharevic in a press release about the work. “From the ground, you would not suspect anything more than just another palm oil plantation, the aerial view however reveals an SOS distress signal. ‘Save our Souls’ is a message communicated to those at a distance, a reminder of the connectedness we share with nature. As more of the forests are lost, we lose a little bit of ourselves in the process.”

So far Splash and Burn has worked with Anders Gjennestad aka Strøk, Axel Void, Bibichun, Gabriel Pitcher, Isaac Cordal, Mark Jenkins, and Pixel Pancho. The ongoing initiative is curated by Zacharevic and coordinated by Charlotte Pyatt. To follow upcoming installations or support the project’s efforts visit the Sumatran Orangutan Society website or Splash and Burn’s Instagram.

Work by Strøk aka Anders Gjennestad (2017), image credit: Anders Gjennestad

Work by Ernest Zacharevic (2017), photo credit: Ernest Zacharevic

Work by Isaac Cordal (2017), photo credit: Isaac Cordal

Work by Ernest Zacharevic , photo credit: Tan Wei Ming

 

 

 



Art Design

Banksy Releases New Miniature Walled Off Hotel Souvenir Series

April 17, 2018

Christopher Jobson

Banksy’s year-old project in Bethlehem, The Walled Off Hotel (previously), has just released a new set of souvenirs exclusively available in the hotel shop. The series of works, which are each hand painted by local artists, depict the West Bank barrier in a crumbling state. A hooded figure is featured beside the wall in several of the works—either contributing a fresh piece of graffiti or physically breaking through the wall with mallet in hand. Banksy views these works as anticipatory objects, pieces that might accurately depict the wall’s end.

The hotel also released a new album during last week’s Palestine Music Expo, featuring international musicians such as Brian Eno, The Black Madonna, Trio Joubran, Roisin Murphy, and Akram Abdulfattah. The work was produced by Block9 during a “Creative Retreat” at the hotel this past February, and includes seven collaborative songs inspired by Palestine’s history. The Walled Off Hotel Creative Retreat Album is now available for free on Soundcloud.

 

 



Art

Soaring Murals of Plants on Urban Walls by Mona Caron

February 1, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Muralist Mona Caron (previously) has continued her worldwide Weeds series, with colorful renderings of humble plants growing ever taller on buildings from Portland and São Paulo to Spain and Taiwan. The San Francisco-based artist often partners with local and international social and environmental movements for climate justice, labor rights, and water rights, and selects plants, both native and invasive, that she finds in the cities where she paints. Caron also integrates tiny details into the main visual elements of her murals:

Several of these murals contain intricate miniature details, invisible from afar. These typically narrate the local history, chronicle the social life of the mural’s immediate surroundings, and visualize future possibility, and are created in a process that incorporates ideas emerging through spontaneous conversations with the artwork’s hosting communities while painting.

Caron regularly shares process videos and photos of completed works on Instagram, and she delves into the narratives behind several of her murals on her website.

Collaboration with Liqan

 

 



Art

Towering Murals by Blu on the Streets of Italy Confront Environmental and Societal Woes

May 29, 2017

Christopher Jobson

La Cuccanga, 2017

From climate change to capitalism run amok, street artist Blu (previously) pulls no punches in his soaring multi-story murals on the streets of Italy. While mixed with a healthy dose of sarcasm and humor, the inspiration behind each artwork is anything but funny as he translates searing critiques into aesthetically beautiful paintings. For instance a 2016 piece criticizing housing problems in the Celadina district of Bergamo, Italy depicts cramped residents as a brightly hued rainbow but leaves a small group of authorities in the lower right completely devoid of color. Collected here is a selection of murals from the last year, you can see more detailed shots by flipping through his blog. You can also get an idea of how he works—perched on a tiny suspended seat—in this short GIF.

Porto Torres, 2016

Celadina, 2016

Catina, 2016

Alta Voracita, 2016

 

 



Art Design

Brandalism: 82 Artists Install 600 Fake Ads Across Paris to Protest the COP21 Climate Conference

November 30, 2015

Kate Sierzputowski

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Just days before the start of the UN COP21 Climate Conference held in Paris and during the French state of emergency following terrorist attacks earlier this November, 600 posters were covertly distributed and hung within the city. The posters were not taped to poles or distributed in public grounds, but secured behind glass at bus stops around the city. The large-scale posters were advertisement replacements, fake corporate ads designed by 82 artists across 19 countries to satirize messaging found throughout the Parisian streets.

Organized by the Brandalism project, the citywide sweep is meant to challenge the corporate takeover of the Paris climate talks, forming ads that target the link between corporations’ advertising with consumerism, global warming, and fossil fuel consumption. The posters reference many of the climate talks’ corporate sponsors including Air France, Dow Chemicals, GDF Suez (Engie). Many of the Photoshopped images use the same branding and voice as the original advertisement, forcing the audience to take a deeper look at the content of the hundreds of posters dotting their daily commute.

“By sponsoring the climate talks, major polluters such as Air France and GDF-Suez-Engie can promote themselves as part of the solution – when actually they are part of the problem,” said Brandalism’s Joe Elan.

Escif, Jimmy Cauty, Neta Harari, Bansky-collaborator Paul Insect, and Kennard Phillips were just a few of the dozens of artists who created posters for the Parisian installation. You can see many more of the 600 posters created to challenge the UN COP21 Climate Conference over on Street Art News and Brandlism’s own website here.

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Art

Artwork is Work, Supporting the Arts Means Paying the Artists

November 18, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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Photo by Scott Beale for Laughing Squid

Scott Beale over at Laughing Squid spotted this great bumper sticker the other day while traveling through Ohio. This is probably the first time we’ve stopped to appreciate a bumper sticker on Colossal, but the message is definitely an important one these days. Pick one up through Northern Sun for just $2.50. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 



Design

Cycling Activists Build Bamboo Car Skeletons to Demonstrate Space Taken by Single Occupancy Cars

October 14, 2014

Christopher Jobson

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A few Latvian activists from a branch of the bicycle advocacy group Let’s Bike it recently created a visual reminder of the space taken by cars on a typical road. To accomplish this, the group fabricated bamboo skeletons shaped like actual cars and mounted them on their bikes. The activists then cycled around the streets of Riga for several hours to highlight the absurdity of using a large car to move a single person. The stunt was organized as part of European Mobility Week, an ongoing campaign that explores sustainable urban mobility around Europe. (via Designboom, My Modern Met)

 

 

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