The environment affects today’s artists more than ever. On the occasion of Earth Day, we revisit the concept of sustainable art together by reviewing some of the artists who have distinguished themselves in this field.
Art and nature
Whatever the individual motivation, the so-called “recycled art” spreads in conjunction with the discussion on renewable energy and the protection of the planet. In some cases, the environmental debate is closely linked to political motivation. This is the case, for example, of some Nigerian artists who through their creations denounce the massive production of oil in the Niger delta and the pollution that derives from it.
In addition to a destructive environmental choice, a political approach can easily be inferred that puts production and income before the health of its inhabitants. At least, this is the representation of famous artists like Sokari Douglas Camp. The artist received many awards for her artistic vision and her commitment to representing social and global themes within her sculptures. Among her most appreciated artworks, there is “Green Leaf Barrel“. In particular, the piece represents a woman goddess creating growth from an oil barrel. An immediate and sharp depiction of the environmental and social conditions in the Nigeria Delta, polluted, and overcrowded. The artist uses a combination of biodegradable materials for her artworks.
Among other artists that dedicate to sustainable art, there is Nnenna Okore. Born in Australia and raised in Nigeria, Nnenna Okore creates suggestive abstract sculptures and paintings reminding of natural primordial shapes. The artist uses recycled materials such as paper, ceramic, fabric, hessian are the tools to represent her figurative imaginary. In particular, Okore underlines how important our connection with nature is, how much we still rely on Earth’s resources for living. This artist focuses deeply on how to preserve the planet. That’s why in her works she represents nature’s fragility as a way to inspire human awareness.
Artists Working in Recycled Art
Contemporary artists explore the issues surrounding global climate change and its consequences. Over the years, artists increasingly depicted visual culture and images related to environmental activism. That’s how they use their art to imagine answers to respond to pollution and conservation issues.
Sustainable Art developed also on the base of the connection artists always had with nature. In particular, the artist’s experience of nature quests themes of existence and imagination. Among the artists that are focusing on environmental issues, there are Ptolemy Elrington and Richard Texier.
Ptolemy Elrington’s sculptures explore the damage caused by unsustainable resources. The British artist uses objects from manufactured products, such as shopping trolleys or car hub caps, to represent the impact of waste on our environment. On the other side, instead, Richard Texier is today one of the best living artists of his generation. In “Angel Bear”, the monumental work in Front of Gare Du Nord Train Station in Paris, the artist focuses on the melting of the glaciers. That’s why the bionic bear is red, reminding the viewer of the fragility of the world.
What Does Sustainability Mean for the Art World?
Through sustainable art that artists hope to inspire social and cultural change as well. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was created by the United Nations in 2015 and points out many core goals to help the world become more environmentally friendly. Above all, sustainable Art provides a more conscious perspective on the world current state. Through works inspired by major environmental issues and recycled art, contemporary artists raise awareness.