In these times of rising activism on climate change and other environmental issues, a new band of campaigners has joined the fight: street artists. Street art has typically focused on megacities and urban festivals. But I noticed that a generation of digitally ultra-connected artists has been encouraged to spread their brushes and spray cans elsewhere – to forests and seas – and to creatively question our relationships to the natural world. Leveraging their ability to reach one of the largest and most diverse audiences – anyone passing by – street artists are increasingly using their public works to address current issues, not the least of which is climate change.
Recently, I found an example of climate activist street art in Singapore, which shows that artists can actually bring an alternative and responsible message to the public through their work. Titled “The Birds in Our Backyard”, the series of wall art relates to human-wildlife conflict and how to live in harmony with feathered neighbors. They are all painted over ten columns located at Block 218B and 218C Boon Lay Avenue in Jurong West HDB estate. The lead artist is Ms Dorcas Tang, a climate activist and artist based in Singapore.
Ms Tang has garnered much attention in recent months for her advocacy on Instagram, (@earthtodorcas), which raises awareness of important climate issues ranging from extreme rainfall events and food waste to climate justice and conscious shopping. I find that her art is wonderful and non-confrontational, so it is perfect for spreading words about environmentalism and climate change to a broader audience. Such climate-conscious works enable us to think more critically about the impact humans are having on the environment and how we need to act in a socially responsible manner in order to conserve and protect our planet.
These wall art use simple slogans and provocative images to cover essential and inspiring ideas that are easy to remember. Such a technique can inspire people to take action or at least remind them about important issues that they may have forgotten. I hope that Ms Tang’s work will resonate with the people who come to see it and inspire some to learn more about climate change.
All my photo documentaries on street art are available here.