Lavazza’s 2019 calendar creates a climate of hope


“Seeing the actual melting of the glacier, day by day, and to create a piece that emphasises what is needed to spread awareness about this... The experience itself was truly eye-opening.”

For Hula Sean Yoro, the Hawaiian street artist, known for combining art, Nature and adventure, working on the Rhone glacier in Switzerland meant seeing the deterioration of the glacier up close. As for Gerada, the green belt of the Moroccan city of Ouarzazate, was inspiring.

Hula and Gerada are two among six artists, whose work photographed by Ami Vitale, will form Lavazza’s Good to Earth calendar of 2019. Sticking to its legacy of promoting sustainable initiatives, this year’s calendar attempts to magnify initiatives aimed at environmental protection.

With the support of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Lavazza has identified six places where man has intervened in the environment in a positive way.

Lavazza’s 2019 calendar creates a climate of hope

In an effort to tell positive stories, six Nature artists have created site-specific works of art, inspired by these locations. The project has touched upon Colombia, Morocco, Belgium, Switzerland, Kenya and Thailand — each of these locations deal with environmental threats of different magnitude.

Dubbed ‘the gateway to the dessert’, the Moroccan city of Ouarzazate is fighting soil degradation, biodiversity loss and desertification by building a green belt of trees irrigated by treated wastewater. Over time, these green areas have also become recreational spaces for the urban population.

Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada, the Cuban artist who predominantly creates large-scale works on urban spaces, thus conceptualised Perpetual Flow, in tune with the city’s efforts to counter growing problems.

Extending over 37,500 square metres, the image of a hand pouring water (as though, into the green belt) was ideated to draw focus to the green belt. However, what impressed him the most was how the local people volunteered to help.

Lavazza’s 2019 calendar creates a climate of hope

“The beautiful thing about this project was that the people who helped me came from the green belt and were really involved,” says Gerada, over phone, adding that while creating the piece, he had to erase the existing tracks in the location.

“I used a rake, stones found on the site, 36 tonnes of dark gravel and vegetable oil.” The artist said that it took him a week and a lot of preparation. “If I was working hard, they would match my pace. I would take breaks with them, have lunch with them and even took group pictures in the end,” says the artist. “These are bonds that I will cherish for a lifetime.”

In Switzerland, on the other hand, citizens had come up with a solution to protect the glaciers from melting: covering them to keep the ice ‘cool’. Every summer, the Rhone glacier in the Swiss Alps is protected by blankets. According to a study by the Earth Institute of Columbia University, the Rhone has retreated considerably over the last 150 years. Encompass I and Encompass II, by Hula, thus took shape. “I had seen so many pictures of the Rhone glacier. But when I saw it up close, it was just incredible. Not only the blankets, but the glacier itself. The scale is massive,” the artist said.

Spread across 30 square metres and nine square metres, respectively, the murals depicted a closed eye and two figures peeking from underneath the blanket. About the murals, Hula says, “I wanted to really emphasise that if the ice is melting at this rate, our future generations are in jeopardy. Symbolically, I felt that the blanket was protecting my future. With that, I painted two kids who were underneath the blanket and had them huddled together, scared.” Battling unpredictable weather conditions was a challenge. The scale of the glacier too, posed difficulties.

Lavazza’s 2019 calendar creates a climate of hope

All six artworks were captured for the calendar by Ami Vitale, a Nature photographer. Her work is a message of hope, focussing on the most thrusting problems that the environment, today, faces. This project, she says, was no different. “I worked in extreme conditions — from the glaciers of Switzerland to the blinding-hot Sahara desert. Still, physical challenges weren’t the most difficult. Visualising a story, was. I was not trying to just take the pictures of the artwork; I was trying to communicate a deeper story.”

The photography followed a three-step process. “There were different pieces to the photographs — one was showing the artists’ artwork and the other piece showing the very landscape that we are discussing, and the third piece was the humans’ connection to this landscape.”

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2021 1:52:28 AM |

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