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Thursday, October 14, 2010


An artistic intervention at COP16 Cancun, Mexico, December 2010

The Heinrich Böll Foundation (HBF) Southern Africa Office plans to hold a visual arts exhibition depicting climate change impacts, vulnerability and adaptation opportunities in Africa at the 16th Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC to be held in Cancun, Mexico, from November 29 to December 10, 2010.

It is envisaged that this exhibition would include prints of visual artworks, such as photographs, paintings, collages, as well as multimedia artworks that can be exhibited using audio visual equipment. The exhibition would constitute HBF’s media and PR strategy for COP 16, which aims to communicate directly with high powered decision makers.

There are several themes to be covered in this exhibition, including the impact climate change has on people's access to water, food and agriculture, natural resources and biodiversity and health.

The HBF, alongside the COPART movement and the Arterial Network, is eager to enable artists to enter the climate change social-justice movement. “We believe that what is needed most in the Climate Change response is a creative revolution that nurtures the development of connected communities, and reveres the relational responses to climate change and not merely the individual ones,” explains the press release. “This work entails working with conscious artists to help usher in a new approach. The interconnected intimate artist is a revolutionary, a peaceful social activist, who nurtures their resilience through relating themselves to others and their environments, and allowing people to personally relate to the stories of climate change, to the women, men and children who are affected by uncertain changes in weather, increased intensity of storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, floods, and everything that follows.

“We are calling all African visual artists to send submissions for this exhibition, which will highlight the specific climate challenges facing this continent, and offer insight to powerful decision makers from around the world, thus speaking to the personal beings of the negotiators, using provocative and intimate depictions of personal experiences.”

Selected artworks will be submitted digitally, and then printed on various A1 and A2 canvas panels (59cm x 84.1cm or 42cm x 59.4cm) and suspended in a 15m2 space. The exhibition will also have a digital screen that will be able to show short films, animations and snippets from African contributors. Running concurrently with this exhibition, COPART will organise a climate fluency week in Cape Town and Johannesburg, where artists, activists, scientists and other citizens will come together and respond to specific themes, issues and outcomes from the COP16 event. The artworks, performances and other creative outputs from this process will be streamed to Cancun each day, to be screened in the exhibition venue. This means the exhibition will link African citizens to the happenings at COP16 and will be able to enter and impact the typically exclusive world of the COP negotiations.

Artists whose work is selected will receive a modest award for their contribution. The artworks themselves will be used to inform and alert heads of state, ministers and other government officials to the real challenges and concerns of citizens across Africa. They will be focal points that raise the status of issues such as water, food security and gender democracy in the face of climate change.

All submissions must be sent to Tigere Chagutah at by October 22, 2010, or if more than 5MB, via free upload site: to the same address. Owners of selected works will be notified by October 29, 2010.