Dialogues With Mother Earth > Drawing to Save the Planet
DIALOGUES WITH MOTHER EARTH: Drawing to Save the Planet
A drawing installation that provokes reflection on the relationship between our 21st century societal values and the ways in which they have contributed to the degradation of our environment
The project began in 2010. Returning from a sabbatical year spent in a quiet location in Mexico I found myself reflecting deeply on how the beautiful, natural world that surrounds us was gradually being decimated by human activity and our responsibility was going unacknowledged. Plenty of scientists had been warning about climate change for decades but their forebodings had basically been ignored.
As an educator, I’d been teaching in art schools for twenty years, I found myself in conversation with young people who kept saying “Why is nobody doing anything about this? We’ve read all the stories about what’s happening in the environment, extinction of species, catastrophic droughts, nobody in government seems to be doing anything.”
It was their voice, their concern as young people, including those of my own daughter that galvanized me into action, figuring out a way I could be helpful. Through no fault of their own these young people would be living with the consequences of climate change. Well, the only thing I knew how to do was to make art of some sort. I decided that it was my responsibility to take the skills I had to somehow make a difference.
I devised this educational project to help people who haven’t really thought about these issues to understand that we’ve all contributed to the problem. I wanted to show, through the work, that it is what we’ve valued as a society that has led us here. And because scientific facts don’t work, I devised a series of visual stories that capture the imagination and bring viewers to explore the issues in an accessible form. Originally the murals were designed to be part of a more complex interactive installation, but as it became clear that they acted powerfully enough on their own, they have been exhibited in traditional museum venues.
Historically murals have been created to commemorate significant societal events: Picasso’s Guernica: Iri and Toshi Maruki’s The Hiroshima Murals; Diego Rivera’s History of Mexico; Piero de la Francesca’s Legend of the True Cross. The use of the mural form in Dialogues with Mother Earth places the viewer into the future looking back at quasi-fictitious documents of past disasters that we did not prevent. This serves the hope that we become alerted to taking action now. The textured surfaces and use of the most primitive of drawing materials – charcoal -- references man’s earliest celebration of his environment: prehistoric cave drawings.
Since 2016 this series has brought the ideas embedded in these images to audiences in seven cities in Mexico and the United States. As intense climate events take center stage in the world the project seeks further venues to continue its education mission. Please contact Erica directly through this site if you wish to bring Dialogues With Mother Earth to your museum.
VIEW THE MURALS