Festival in Australia: ‘Arts+Climate=Change 2015’

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The Australian organisation CLIMARTE is developing a major festival of climate and culture which will take place in 2015.


CLIMARTE is an independent not-for-profit organisation in Australia that aims to harness the creative power of the arts to inform, engage and inspire action on climate change.

With the collaboration of participants such as Carbon Arts, The Ian Potter Museum of Art, Heide Museum of Art, Tarrawarra Museum of Art and the Centre for Contemporary Photography, the festival ‘Arts+Climate=Change 2015’ is intended to engage the arts community and its wide diversity of audiences.

The organisers hope this and other projects will “help make climate change register in people’s hearts and minds, make them demand the sort of action that we need if we are to avoid the worst case scenarios of climate change.”

“Growing up I was lucky to be surrounded by beauty and mystery in artworks and in nature. I want the same for my children and for theirs in turn. I know that climate change is happening. I want urgent social, economic and technological responses and yet this isn’t happening. I hope that art might be one way to make people think. I might be wrong, but opposite my desk hangs an artwork by Los Angeles based street artist Ian Morely. It says ‘If you’re reading this, there’s still time’,” wrote Guy Abrahams, CEO and co-founder of CLIMARTE, in an article in Crikey’s Daily Review of the arts.

Guy Abrahams is a former lawyer and gallerist who left the commerce of art to focus on arts projects that would promote environmental sustainability and counter the threat of climate change. As a founder of the organisation CLIMARTE – Arts for Safe Climate, he is creating an arts network to inspire the broader community to take action on these issues through relevant events.

In the Daily Review article, Guy Abrahams discusses the reasons for establishing CLIMARTE and why he thinks the arts can be a positive force for change. An excerpt:

“The question for CLIMARTE is: can art “rearrange our sense of reality” about the state of our planet, sustainability and climate change?

Throughout history the arts have played a major role in recording and reflecting the state of human society, and the natural world of which society is but a part. At certain times, the arts have also been a catalyst for change, a call to action, a pricking of our collective conscience.

In Australia, there are Aboriginal rock paintings of animal motifs that may be 40,000 years old. These works clearly indicate the importance of the natural world to the people who created them. We have early Eurocentric visions of landscape by John Glover and Fred Williams’ revolutionary evocation of our unique bush. Now Mandy Martin’s bleak coal mine pocked landscapes, Fiona Hall’s tapa cloth depictions of our over exploited oceans, and Janet Laurence’s mystical and mysterious flora and fauna, allow us to see and feel the reality of this new human dominated age – the anthropocene.”

» Read the article here: www.dailyreview.crikey.com.au

» CLIMARTE’s home page: www.climarte.org


The photo above shows Mandy Martin and the artwork Vivitur Ex Rapto (for Bulga) 2014. Photographed by Alexander Boynes

Mandy Martin is one of the artists who will join a panel at CLIMARTE’s public forum ‘Climate Art Ethics: What role for the arts?’ on Saturday 15 February 2014 in Melbourne, Australia.

Mandy Martin is an Australian artist with a national and international reputation for conservation and landscape. Her work is well represented within Australian public galleries and museums, as well as at the Guggenheim Museum New York, the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the Nevada Museum of Art, Reno.

Imprint Magazine published a Climate Change Issue in 2013, which contained an article by Guy Abrahams from CLIMARTE. The magazine is not online, but the cover, an editorial and the index can be seen here:
» www.printcouncil.org.au/imprint


Culture|Futures is an international collaboration of organizations and individuals who are concerned with shaping and delivering a proactive cultural agenda to support the necessary transition towards an Ecological Age by 2050.

The Cultural sector that we refer to is an interdisciplinary, inter-sectoral, inter-genre collaboration, which encompasses policy-making, intercultural dialogue/cultural relations, creative cities/cultural planning, creative industries and research and development. It is those decision-makers and practitioners who can reach people in a direct way, through diverse messages and mediums.

Affecting the thinking and behaviour of people and communities is about the dissemination of stories which will profoundly impact cultural values, beliefs and thereby actions. The stories can open people’s eyes to a way of thinking that has not been considered before, challenge a preconceived notion of the past, or a vision of the future that had not been envisioned as possible. As a sector which is viewed as imbued with creativity and cultural values, rather than purely financial motivations, the cultural sector’s stories maintain the trust of people and society.

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