Art for Environmental Consciousness
Three Artists Activating Art in the Fight Against Climate Change
WORDS BY LEILA REFAHI
NOV 07, 2022 | ISSUE 10
As an artist focusing on endangered animals, I travelled to Malax, Finland in the fall of 2017 to join the Malakta Art Factory’s residency program. I was invited to the Merenkurkku School in Vaasa to perform an art project during my stay, and I designed one that aimed to teach students about fur farms and how the leather industry violates animal rights. We gave students materials to create artworks on this theme, and they created origami birds using paper that was printed with animal fur patterns. Afterwards, we configured these paper birds into an installation that was showcased in the school hall. I travelled to Germany and Iran in the following years where I led the same art projects, and each time I found myself continually amazed by the engagement of the students, their interaction with the process, their eagerness to create art, and also their conversations about animal rights. These experiences raised new ideas for me, and they also made me reconsider the relationship between art and environmental justice.
Throughout art history, nature has long served as the source of inspiration for artists. This influence...