“Change: Creating a New Reality” Virtual Exhibition
We are delighted to formally announce the winner of our art competition, “Change: Creating a New Reality”, and share a selection of the submissions which we received last year. We ran this competition as part of our Irish Aid Development Education project in 2020. Our winner is Marie-Helene Brohan Delhaye with her submission “Pandemic Sketchbooks” which can be viewed at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9fqFefIfVa1JtWvkS6j924MnejA_4Hyb
The standard of submissions was excellent so this was a difficult decision for the EWB team!
Our competition theme explored how the Covid 19 pandemic has made us all change our lives in significant ways; creating new realities for ourselves. Confronting the climate emergency will also require us making major changes in our behaviour and lifestyles. Our participating artists shared with us their experiences of the Covid pandemic alongside depictions of how they have seen climate change affect people and our environment around the world. Our participants have seen these effects directly through their work in civil society organisations or as resident artists abroad.
We hope you enjoy viewing the submissions to our art competition and reading the reflections from the artists themselves.
Competition Winner: Marie-Helene Brohan Delhaye, “Pandemic Sketchbooks”
My name is Marie-Hélène Brohan Delhaye, I live in Dublin, and I am an Urban Sketcher. What that means is that, everywhere I go, I bring with me a sketchbook and a pen or two, always ready to capture a moment, whether it’s sitting in a café and sketching the other customers, or standing at a street corner and trying to capture the beauty of an interesting building or a busy city scene.
I am a member of a wonderful international organisation called Urban Sketchers (www.urbansketchers.org). Our manifesto is to sketch on location, from direct observation, telling the story of our surroundings, the places we live and where we travel.
Since the Pandemic started, our lives have changed – we can’t meet, we can’t travel. But we still sketch. We will always sketch. We’ve had to adapt. The sketchbooks I have shared are a record of my life from the start of 2020 to September/October. No more standing on street corners, sketchbook in hand. More sitting in the back garden, or looking out the window, drinking a cup of tea, chatting to friends on Zoom, observing the small moments of a life that’s slowed down.
We’ve all had to adapt. It hasn’t been easy. But we are getting there. The Covid crisis is only the start. Over the last year, it’s been all too easy to forget about the climate emergency. If we want a world for the future generations, our lives will have to change. We’ll have to leave the car behind, eat less meat, forget about travelling to the other side of the world. But we will adapt. And I’ll be sketching!
Grace O’Malley, “Disappearing Landscapes”
My work aims to convey the urgency of climate change by connecting people to the beauty of remote landscapes.
Skaftafell 2018 was my first painting in this series of work in response to climate change. Climate change can be clearly seen in the melting of glaciers. This image portrays the current flux state of glaciers. This painting is then compared to a similar glacier landscape in 2015 which has now long disappeared due to the effects of global warming. The difference is clear, now take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
The most important thing that people now realise since the pandemic is that we all have a role to play.
Climate change and COVID-19 are two very different challenges, but they do have some key things in common. Both are global – they do not respect national boundaries – and both require countries to work together to find solutions. I am hopeful that society is seeing this challenge and that efforts to fight climate change have been accelerated.
The global community has shown that it can act to address a crisis, with governments, businesses and individuals taking measures and changing behaviours in response to the pandemic. Even small personal actions, like physical distancing, can make a big difference when we work together, overcoming huge challenges.
Whilst trying to find some positivity in the horror of Covid I created this painting to remind me of the beauty that still exists around me if only I look.
I live, with my family, on the verge of the Wicklow mountains, beside the beautiful lake of Blessington. In “normal” times, before Covid, we spent so many of our waking hours on the hamster wheel of life – dashing from place to place without giving much thought to the sustainability of our beautiful planet. We were too busy to properly understand how our rash consumption of precious resources, in order to facilitate our materialistic, frantic and self-entitled lives, are creating a situation that may become irreversible unless we urgently change our ways. This time has given us a glimpse of how to appreciate some of the simpler ways of living, to reconnect with people and nature – to permanently slow down enough to rethink the future for all of us and our world.
Anne O’Byrne, “Windmill”
The inspiration for this piece came from the lockdown that was enforced on us at the start of the Covid pandemic back in March 2020. We were only allowed to travel 2km from our home initially, and this view was at my 2km boundary.
It seemed to give me hope that our engineers are looking to find alternative, natural sources of energy for our future. For me it seemed to dispel the doom and gloom, and sheds a light on our way forward.
I believe the work of an artist can shine a light on important issues. My work focuses on social, economic and environmental concerns. Working in the mediums of paint, print, and video, I aim to highlight among other things the cause and effect of global climatic change. Limiting our scope of travel during this pandemic might result in focusing our attention on what is around us, leading to a greater appreciation and understanding of nature and its fragile ecosystem, which might conclude in more considered actions in the future.
The Covid epidemic has meant people have become much more aware of their immediate neighbourhood – for many, the fifteen minute city has become a reality, and, at least for the time being, many are living a simpler, less consumer orientated life, with less dependance on private transport, foreign travel, and other material goods that impact on climate change.
Sea levels are rising and some people have to leave their homes because of that. Water sources are drying out and some people have to leave their homes because of that. Somewhere in the world people migrate because of climate change.
Somewhere, some people.
Just like the Covid19 statistics we check everyday, we don’t personally know all the victims of migration, they are just statistics for us. Even though each story is a unique human story.
As awful as this pandemic is, climate change could be worse… Even as the world focuses on stopping the pandemic and begins recovering from it, we also need to act now to avoid a climate disaster.
Nigel Cullen, “Nature’s Turn”
“Living in a Fishbowl”
I paint with the environment in my mind always. It saddens me to see how we as a race plunder and destroy nature everywhere we go. In my lifetime, there’s been horrific environmental disasters caused by man. But nature is fighting back, look at this pandemic for example.
Nature has had a holiday during this pandemic, its plants and animals got back the peace and quiet they deserve. But I wonder have we learned anything from the pandemic and the way we need to treat our planet? Time will tell. I pray that a new dawn is coming.