Climate Change Solutions Meet Arts as Exhibition Looms

Climate Change Solutions Meet Arts as Exhibition Looms

Yinka Olatunbosun

The plein-air painting outside the venue, United Nations Information Centre of Nigeria (UNIC) in Ikoyi, set the tone for the press conference to announce a looming exhibition on October 7 in Lagos. The show will be one-of-a-kind, what with the support from the diplomatic community upon which it thrives.

In anticipation of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) which takes place in Glasgow from November 1 to 12, 2021, the British Deputy High Commission; the Consulate General, Federal Republic of Germany, Robert Bosch, as well as UNIC have partnered with the Creative Youth Community Development initiative (CYCDI)-Solution17 for Climate Action to promote this special show tagged Climate Adaptation Solutions and Climate Art Exhibition.

On Tuesday, September 21, the pre-COP26 press conference was hosted by UNIC Lagos to announce the partnerships. The conference has heads of the collaborative organisations- the British Deputy High Commissioner, Ben Llewellyn-Jones; the German Consul-General, Dr. Bernd Von Munchow-Pohl and the Director of the United Nations Information Centre in Nigeria, Mr Ronald D. Kayanja who was host but represented by Dr. Seyi Soremekun, the UNIC Head of Communication and Ms. Michael, CEO/Project Director, CYCDI-Solution 17 Global.

Featuring the Climate Art solutions initiative, which presented 34 finalists who emerged from the call for solutions across Nigeria launched earlier this year on June 7, it was a good opportunity to have that first-hand experience of artists engaging in this non-verbal communication on climate change.

The finalists were drawn from over 400 participants from across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria. They will be admitted to Naija Climate Now Innovation Hub in November to co-create sustainable solutions for social impact and profit. Later in the year, the project will showcase Nigerian-made solutions and technologies to address climate change as a special COP26Summit and Art exhibition.

Four Climate Change Artists- Anjola Olanrewaju, Victory Ashaka, Oluchi Nwaokorie and Tobi Titiloye staged live drawing and painting session on canvasses mounted on easels in the open courtyard of the UNIC office in Ikoyi.

The paintings executed by the four Climate Change Now art ambassadors depicted their various interpretations of the theme; reflecting subject matters such as renewable energy, waste-to wealth, climate-smart agriculture, biodiversity protection, sustainable fashion and others.

“The intersection of arts, culture and the environment in Nigeria is undeniable; from our agricultural systems to the industries that dominate our societies,’’ stated Ms. Michael. “It is therefore important to explore climate change through art as a means of bringing about behavioural change and fully addressing the climate emergency.”

The show which holds on October 7, 2021 at the residence of the British Deputy High Commissioner in Lagos has as theme “Naija Climate Now-Race to Zero on 17 Canvasses.’ This will be followed by a global exhibition slated for October 18. It will showcase sustainable art aimed at provoking innovative responses on enhancing climate, resilience, green economic recovery and low-carbon development for Nigeria.

“We are running out of time to protect the planet; everyone must act to prevent the looming climate crisis. Naija Climate Now presents an opportunity for all stakeholders within the environmental space, including government non-governmental, private sectors education and research institutions and international entities, to reflect on Nigeria’s issues and proposed solutions towards climate adaptation on the Race to Zero,’’ Ms. Michael.

The British Deputy High Commissioner, Llewellyn-Jones applauded the initiative, the Naija Climate Now Project, while expressing his eagerness to work with the generation of innovators on ideas that address the climate emergency and to explore climate change through art as a means of bringing about behavioural change.

“The global climate crisis is arguably the greatest challenge for the 21st century. It is an issue is arguably the greatest challenge for the 21st century,’’ he said with reference to the devastating effects of climate change nationwide. “If we want to halt this trajectory, we need to work together to implement our moist innovative ideas and approaches to address these climate challenges and you may be wondering what the role of art is in the global climate change movement. The answer is simple: art can communicate in a different way than science the threat that climate change poses to our planet. Environmental art addresses our relationship to the natural world and so when we look at art that has been stimulated by climate change, we become engaged in deep reflection and we contemplate things in a different way.”

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