Imagine being in the midst of a pandemic while humankind risks permanent consequences due to climate change. These are the challenges that governments and people alike are currently facing, between the uncertainty of a vaccine and the collective effort to switch to a greener society. However sinister the situation might seem, new perspectives have arisen from the art world, inviting us to question ourselves and our role in this time but also pointing to a solution.
World leaders are indeed collaborating to address the world’s pollution problems through the UN campaigns ‘Race to Zero’ and ‘Maintaining a Low Carbon Development Path Towards the 2030 Agenda in the Era of Covid-19’. The objective is to build momentum around the shift to a decarbonized economy by mobilizing a coalition of leading net zero initiatives, representing 452 cities, 22 regions, 1,101 businesses, 45 of the biggest investors, and 549 universities.
Photo taken from wemeanbusinesscoalition.org
The United Kingdom holds a leading position in tackling environmental issues and this year bravely proposes the second edition of London Climate Action Week (LCAK), November 14-22. As part of the Race to Zero Campaign, which will be held digitally amid the second COVID-19 lockdown, Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London explained:
“Last year we held London’s first ever Climate Action Week, bringing together climate expertise and talent from across the world. I’m proud to see that it’s back in 2020, despite the huge challenges posed by Coronavirus. The climate emergency remains one of the biggest threats we face. As we recover from Covid-19, we can’t replace one health emergency with another - we need to come out of this crisis embracing a new normal which puts tackling the climate emergency at the heart of everything we do. With the delay to COP 26 we can’t lose the momentum on climate action, so I’m pleased to see that London organisations are leading the way, showing once again that the capital is a driving force for action nationally and globally.”
In the grand scheme of change the art world is once again a protagonist. Ten art shows curated by New Yorker artist, writer and lawyer Selva Ozelli, featuring 46 paintings by 6 artists that have been acknowledged in 12 international art completions, will be part of London Climate Action Week. These art shows were also registered digital events for United Nations’ (UN) World Environment, Oceans, Desertification, Clean Air for Blue Skies Days and were published by the world’s first climate change museum, The Jockey Club Museum of Climate Change--Hong Kong, Climate Museum--UK as well as more than 190 other museums in more than 40 countries.
Turkey-based Pinelo Art Gallery hosted the Atelier Teymur Rzayev First Digital Climate Change Art Show featuring Selva Ozelli as curator and artist and also presented her works at the Virtual Solo Exhibition in September 2020. The evocative portrait of ‘Art in the Time of Corona’ shows a serious figure hidden by the strong and sharp brushstrokes that seem to conjure the sudden whirl of events that have recently upset the world. With ‘Art in the Time of Corona 2’ the American artist further explores the theme already implied in the title of her work. A gracious woman is surrounded by the impressive, yellow-colored flowers that gently cover her face and give her an aura of peace (or perhaps a disturbed person sinking into the imposing mass of viruses?). Whether the viewer feels relieved or not, Selva Ozelli beautifully pictures the sense of loss and peril that humanity has faced. The presence of her paintings, however, in the context of Climate Change Week, transmits a strong feeling of hope and resilience. Art is thus an indicator of a new perspective towards which we all need to go: a sustainable future where the relationship with man and nature is finally balanced and health emergencies are simply vague recrudescences of the painful past.