“Art is man’s constant effort to create for himself a different order of reality from that which is given to him.” – Chinua Achebe
Artvism, entails the use of art as a medium for mobilising people into action. Across the globe activists are taking up paint brushes, spray paint, walking onto theatre stages, as a means of protesting against socio-economic and political ills. A brilliant example is that of the famous graffiti artist Banksy. A political activist whose works of social commentary have sparked interest and debates through his iconic images found on street walls, trains and pavements in major cities across the globe.
Art then becomes a medium of self-expression confronting social injustices in a peaceful manner. An alternative form of communication that often overcomes censorship and oppressive systems that silence marginalised communities. Artivism, a universal language, transcending race, religion and gender barriers, is fast becoming one the most effective means of activism.
In the Africa-Arab world context, concepts such as global warming, climate change, impacts of melting glaciers, 2°C, are not easily digested nor necessarily understood by those most impacted by these issues. This is the reason we have been at the forefront of creatively engaging with artistic mediums, spreading the word and empowering communities to take matters into their hands in the fight against climate change.
With the COP22 taking place on the African continent, we are taking this form of activism to the heart of the conference in Marrakesh through The Sunshines Of Africa (SOA), an art installation bringing together climate stories from across the continent. The installation speaks of Africa as the best location to inspire and leapfrog to a renewable energy revolution leading the global shift through renewable forms of energy, including wind, and solar.
This interactive installation enables people to interact, discuss and share freely on impacts and solution stories from their different communities. Audiences from all countries of the world, the space to leave their mark. Their thumbprints will be an indication of an endorsement from those supporting an African economy driven by 100% renewable energy.
Vulnerable communities who live firsthand the impacts of climate change are facing these issues on a daily basis. The rise in food prices, desertification, deforestation caused by climate change lead to a decline in water supplies, which means women, and children spend hours on a daily basis in search of clean water.
This art installation aims to encourage Africa to abandon development plans based on fossil fuels and reduce destructions caused by climate change as portrayed through the impacts stories by leading frontline communities. The project also aims to create an intercontinental network of Artivists and encourage collaborations across the continent beyond the COP 22.
The Sunshines of Africa is on display for the first week of COP (November 7th – 13th). If you are in Marrakesh – please bring items, photos and stories from your region to add to the installation, If you are not in Marrakesh but would like your story to feature on the installation, email firstname.lastname@example.org.