April 22 marks the 50th year of World Earth Day. Every year, we see rallies, global pledges and campaigns to commemorate the landmark event, but not this time. The Covid-19 pandemic not only highlights the need to save the Earth and its resources, now more than ever, but has also taken celebrations online.
Themed on climate action, Earth Day 2020 has a lot in store: digital events, performances, and collaborations. We take a look at what artists are churning out to mark the event.
Mounica Tata, cartoonist-illustrator, India
A first from the artist, her illustration is a personal, heartfelt note from her to the Earth. Owing to the existing complex situation we are all in, Tata has consciously kept the message and art simple. She admits the pandemic has been quite a wakeup call, and she won’t be taking her “not-so-clean skies and not-so-green grass” for granted any more. Start small, she says. With proper waste disposal, less plastic, using cruelty-free products, not wasting food/water, learning to co-exist with all beings, and most importantly, being aware of our privilege and using it to help spread awareness. Details: @doodleodrama on Instagram
Rohan Chakravarty, environmental cartoonist, India
For a cartoonist whose work speaks exclusively about wildlife and conservation, every day is Earth Day, he says. A realisation that he has been rather ignorant about lesser-known creatures led the illustrator to start his Home Diversity series late last month, and he will carry this forward. From the grasshopper and Indian Wanderer (butterfly) to the common tree frog and a cotton bollworm moth, the series includes insects found in his immediate vicinity!
Chakravarty is now trying to tackle environmental issues that revolve around the pandemic itself, right from dispelling myths about bats infecting human beings directly to commentary on the links between wildlife trade and environment destruction with the epidemic. On April 22, look forward to an illustration of a reptile or an amphibian species from his home. Details: @green_humour on Instagram
- Participate in the world’s first stay-at-home environmental mural festival: HOME. Organised by US-based PangeaSeed Foundation’s public art program, Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans, the festival (until April 26) encourages artists from across the globe to transform drab white walls at their homes into vibrant canvases.
- In addition, live streaming sessions from artists’ homes, panel discussions, and webinars are also being held.
- Register on bit.ly/home-murals
Alexandra Slezak, visual artist and sculptor, USA
For her most recent sculpture, Cork Globe, Alexandra Slezak spent months collecting over 10 kg of synthetic corks. With the piece (featured in the artist gallery on earthday.org), she wanted to not just engage the public, but also educate them about the “absurdity” of the material. Known for her mixed-media paintings and found-object sculptures themed on sustainability, Slezak commonly creates art from reused materials such as hub caps and scrap bike parts. Details: looneymoons.com
Jan Brandt, mixed media artist, USA
Known for her work in mixed-media, textiles, printmaking, and painting, artist Jan Brandt’s entry for the Earth Day campaign is a painting for ParkLands Foundation’s (that protects natural lands in the Mackinaw Valley watershed) annual fundraiser. Titled ‘Nature’s Way’, it depicts flora and fauna found in the Mackinaw Valley area, including river otters, herons, a snapping turtle, and salamanders called ‘mud puppies’. Details: janbrandtartist.com
- Sarod virtuoso Soumik Datta is all set to release his new single, Tiger Tiger, tonight. The artiste will be playing live on Instagram (@soumikdatta) and Facebook (facebook.com/soumikmusic) at 11.30 pm IST.
- Washington-based Earth Day Network takes its annual celebrations online today with a 24-hour global livestream. Packed with conversations, calls to action, performances, video teach-ins and more, the line-up features actor Zac Efron, politician John Kerry, Al Gore, musician Nahko, marine biologist Dr Sylvia Earle, among others. Details: earthday.org
Poramit Thantapalit, artist, Thailand
Now crafting DIY face masks in cyanotype prints and upcycled fabric, artist Poramit Thantapalit’s ‘Jellyfish’ installation also features in Earth Day’s artist archives. Presented at the Acadia Earth Project in New York from August 2019 until January 2020, the large microplastic, multimedia installation is crafted using plastic bags. The ceiling sculpture, Under the Sea, features plastic bottles, yogurt cups and milk jugs. Details: facebook.com/poramit/