Exhibition to Open on 5 June – United Nations (UN) World Environment Day In Oslo, Norway Featuring 40 Artists from Around the World
OSLO/BRUSSELS/NAIROBI/SAN FRANCISCO, 28 February 2007 – We are at the forefront of a new era of cultural transformation, one in which we have to take bold and unequivocal actions to create and implement cross-cultural and interdisciplinary solutions to diminish the threats posed by our Earths’ changing climate.
In honor of the annual UN World Environment Day celebrations in June 2007, the Natural World Museum is presenting the exhibit, Envisioning Change, in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Norwegian Ministry of Environment, and the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo. This international contemporary art exhibition is designed to generate awareness of global warming and climate change while inspiring positive change in people’s attitudes and actions toward the environment.
In support of the internationally coordinated campaign of research marking a new era in polar science, the International Polar Year has been established for 2007-2008. Coinciding, the theme of World Environment Day 2007 is Melting Ice – Hot Topic?, while the aim of the exhibit is to focus attention on the effects of climate change, and in particular, the state of our polar ecosystems and communities.
A range of events will be staged for World Environment Day in the northern Norwegian city of Tromsø, known as the Gateway to the Arctic, on 3 - 4 June and culminate in Oslo on 5 June with the opening of the Envisioning Change exhibition at the Nobel Peace Center. It was in Oslo in 2004 that Wangari Maathai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace through her grassroots environmental work with the Green Belt Movement.
UNEP’s agenda for World Environment Day is to give a human face to environmental issues; empower people to become active agents of sustainable development; promote an understanding that communities are pivotal to changing attitudes towards environmental issues; and advocate partnership, which will ensure all nations and peoples enjoy a safer and more prosperous future.
This innovative exhibition brings together 40 artists from around the world to address issues confronting our changing environment as reflected in the melting and thawing of ice, snow, and permafrost from the Himalayas to Kilimanjaro, from the Andes to the Arctic.
The exhibition explores such questions as “What is climate change?” “What are the political implications?” “How does sustainable development create a pathway to peace?” and “Why should we care?” The artists and artworks provide insight and answers to these questions.
The 40 artists in Envisioning Change are diverse in both style and substance.
A sampling of artworks:
1) Norwegian artist Anne Senstad, has exhibited widely internationally, including Sao Paulo, Brazil; New York, USA; and Oslo, Norway. Since 1996 she has received grants from the Norwegian Council for Cultural Affairs and The Norwegian Photography Foundation for the Arts. In 1997, Senstad started working with light and color. Through her photography, she has investigated light, color and sound by photographing pure light sources and their environmental behavioral patterns. In this exhibit Senstad’s color circles in Essence of Light are expanding and contracting, as in the melting or solidifying of ice. The works incorporate the circular poles of the globe; the purity of water and ice; and the melting ice of the polar caps. The viewer experiences the work as if looking through ice.
2) Canadian born artist Robert Bateman is one of the world’s foremost artists depicting the natural world. Since the 1960’s Bateman has been an advocate of the environment on a global scale, earning him numerous awards including Officer of the Order of Canada (the country’s highest civilian award), the Rachel Carson Award, and he was named one of the 20th Century’s Champions of Conservation by the US National Audubon Society. His works are in the private collections of HRH The Prince Charles, HRH The Prince Philip, HRH The late Princess Grace of Monaco, HRH Bernhard, and the Prince of the Netherlands. In this exhibit Bateman’s painting, Antarctic Evening – Humpback Whales, demonstrates his mastery of capturing the majesty and intricacy of nature.
3) Chris Jordan is one of the leading artists bridging art and the environment in the United States. Jordan has already had numerous solo exhibitions and has participated dozens of group exhibits. He has been featured in several high profile magazines and received numerous awards for his photography. For this exhibit, Jordan created an image that depicts 24,000 GMC "Denali" SUV logos, which represents six weeks of sales for that model. In Denali/Denial, the logos are arranged into a mosaic mirroring Ansel Adams’ famous photograph of Mt. McKinley in Denali National Park, Alaska. Half of the Denali logos are changed to read "Denial."
Artists from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Serbia, USA, Spain, England, Peru, Croatia, Wales, New Zealand, Japan, Argentina and more, are participating in Envisioning Change, including Fred Ivar Utsi Klemetsen, Jonas Liverod, Laura Horelli, Lucy Orta, Mona Hatoum, Subhankar Banerjeree, David Nash, Dalibor Martinis, David Buckland, Yoshiaki Kaihatsu, David Trubridge, Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison, Gary Hume, David and Hi-Jin Hodge, and dozens more.
The goal of this exhibition is to present a unique opportunity that utilizes the universal language of art as a catalyst to peacefully unite people in action and thought and to empower individuals, communities, and leaders to focus on environmental values across social, economic, and political realms.
The exhibition will open at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo on 5 June and be on display until 20 August 2007, then travel to the Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Brussels from September through December 2007, and on to Chicago in the United States in 2008.
SAMPLING OF ARTWORKS
1) Anne Senstad. Norway
Essence of Light
3 prints, photographic c-print, plexiglass and aluminum
20 x 20 inches each, 51 x 51 cm each
2) Robert Bateman, Canada
Antarctic Evening – Humpback Whales
acrylic on canvas, large scale painting
48 x 60 inches, 122 x 152 cm
3) Chris Jordan, United States
digital photography, wall mount
72 x 96 inches, 183 x 213 cm
High resolution images can be downloaded at: http://artintoaction.org/__documents/pressimages.html
QUOTES FROM PARTICIPATING ORGANIZATIONS
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, said: “The findings in the 2 February 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change confirm the science of human-induced climate change. These findings should strengthen the resolve of people to act now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and put in place the medium to longer term strategies necessary to avert dangerous climate change.”
Norwegian Ministry of Environment
Minister Helen Bjørnøy expressed that “Art has the power to express the close ties between human nature and our natural surroundings, making it a powerful agent of increased environmental awareness”.
Nobel Peace Center
“This is an important exhibition for the Nobel Peace Center. It clearly shows how the climate changes we are all surrounded by have direct impact on world security, and therefore on peace. The wide variety of artistic expressions on display effectively states that the earth’s climate affects all of us” said Bente Erichsen, Director, Nobel Peace Center.
“Mankind's universal values of love, compassion, solidarity, caring and tolerance should form the basis for this global ethic which should permeate culture, politics, trade, religion and philosophy. It should also permeate the extended family of the United Nations” said Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Wangari Maathai.
Natural World Museum
“We are taking action to encourage positive trends in society by utilizing art as a catalyst to generate new perspectives that inspire social and environmental solutions” states Mia Hanak, the Founding Executive Director of the Natural World Museum.
“The intent of the show is to both engage and educate,” said Randy Jayne Rosenberg, the exhibition’s curator. “The traveling art exhibition seeks to reach millions of people in an effort to make a lasting contribution to the global dialogue around our environment in peril and inspire individuals to reflect on their attitudes and actions.”
United Nations Environment Programme
Nick Nuttall, Spokesperson
Office of the Executive Director
Tel: + 254 20 7623084
Fax: + 254 20 7623692
Mobile: + 254 733 632755 / +41 79 596 57 37
Natural World Museum
San Francisco, USA
Nobel Peace Center
Tel: +47 95 19 13 15
Fax: +47 91 42 92 38
Norwegian Ministry of Environment
Tel: +47 22245709
Fax: +47 22249560