ECO-ART – the way to raise the awareness of environmental problems
Today many products, that weren’t used and even weren’t needed 20 or 50 years ago, became necessary in our life.
The companies, which try to supply the endless needs, take the advantage of this situation and start using attractive package design to increase the products’ selling. Today the wastes of packages become serious environmental problem.
On the other hand concern of ecology rises in the society. Creativity is one of the most pleasant processes in our life and effectively impresses people. Eco-creativity is the way to participate actively in the preservation of your planet by the implementation of uncommon activities emerging from our imagination.
Eco art takes place in daily life in very different forms like rag doll from used clothes and fabric, model (pattern) or picture frame from scorched matches, making sculpture from plastic crown cap in modern design, decorating garden with used but coloured auto tires, presenting the used shoes as a piece of art, etc. Good practices in Lithuania, Turkey, Italy and Hungary show that ecology and act of creation put together give excellent results.
For example, in Turkey recycled corn husk is used as a mat, knitting again by unravelling the old one, making prayer rug and bedspread from old fabric.
Some good practices become more popular in Turkish schools where women meet for making ecological activities. Waste considered as parts of old fabric is decorated with traditional motives and ornaments on the shoe boxes which later could be used for jewellery or other purposes.
In Hungary, land art – best described as “green” art – combines the intents of the environmental and artistic way of thinking. This artistic form can be practiced by everyone, because the only fundamental prerequisite is open-mind towards the beauty of nature. Land art is capable of visualizing thoughts and problems efficiently and effectively, able to make urban population open towards the ancient values of nature.
Hungarian Association Green Wave organized a two-day workshop in cooperation with Sustainable Legacy and Environment Association (FÖKKE). Aim of the workshop was to promote this technique. In the morning, the participants could get acquainted with the technique itself through a theoretical overview provided by Alex Bernáth from FÖKKE.
Followed by presentations and discussions on the values and possible usages of the land-art technique, participants had the opportunity to create such installations in the nearby forest of Parádfürdő. In the evening, the participants evaluated their involvement of nature into the dense urban areas.
Despite the fact that it is effective in urban areas, the best results can be achieved in natural areas untouched by artificial civilization. The technique itself involves the rearrangement of artefacts, materials found in the area in order to create something artistic. Be it in urban or natural areas, land art strive to create something new from materials already existing. For example, the technique can utilize holes in the earth dug by animals, small hills, leaves, pieces of woods, stones, rivers etc. work by discussions with the help of the pictures taken. Photo documentation is an important aspect of land-art due to the nature of the artworks – the pieces get changed due to weather conditions, giving a completely different meaning to the artworks.
The event was disseminated in the monthly newsletter of the Association and on the websites of both FÖKKE and Green Wave.
Workshop in Lithuania raises a question of consumption. Nowadays one of the major ecological problems – persistent growth of consumption and the consequences of it are evident: the increasing amount of waste, pollution in the process of production, persistent demand for resources and their consumption. Buying one thing after another people trap themselves in a continuous cycle of consumption and, their homes become full of unnecessary shopping.
Eco workshop “Ecology, born through creativity” was organized by Semiotic research center for saying “stop” for reckless consumption”. Creativity workshop aimed to reduce consumerism and involved volunteers. Attendants learned how to create unique gifts and home interiors – teddy bears – using an old skirt or a shirt.
During this workshop volunteers discovered some useful ideas and got some skills. Hopefully they think before buying presents and spend few hours of work, using scraps of material, a pair of old buttons, thread, needles, and, of course, creativity. And, what once seemed unnecessary – a long skirt or a jacket – would turn into a wonderful toy – a teddy bear.
In order to reach effective results concerning environment, ecology and nature protection, whole family should be involved. One of the best practices in Lithuania is “Eco-things festival”.
It is organised annually by eco-friendly family of six who lives in a harmony with the nature.
The main idea of the festival is communication between other families who are concerned with environmental problems. The festival takes place in a small village in family’s residence.
Creative workshops are organised during the weekend, e.g. making musical instruments and toys from waste products or even rubbish, reusable diaper sewing lessons, kite workshops, dress sewing from second hand clothes.
The news about the festival is disseminated basically through the internet portals, friends and partners.
Within the Eco-Creativity project, Associazione Geografica per l’Ambiente e il Territorio from Italy, has decided to organize multiple activities related to the creation of art to promote and enhance the link between art, creativity, and the environment.
One of the activities - competition among eco-artists entitled AGAT Eco-Creativity Award. A call for submissions was drafted and disseminated by way of geographic and artistic related channels. There were two competition areas: Figurative and Plastic Arts: sculpture, painting, installation, photography and combination between the different artistic techniques, and Fashion: clothing and accessories.
The winners of each competition received a cash prize in the amount of 500 Euros. In addition there was a prize to the art work most voted by the public, the winner was awarded a 200 Euro voucher to be used in a specialized art and fashion bookshop. AGAT decided to create the “public award” in order to involve and attract more people, like friends of artists.
Participants were able to compete either as part of a group or individually. More than sixty works of art had been submitted. From these sixty, thirty-one have been selected by judges and exhibited.
On May 26th the activities were carried out at Casa della Cultura, inside Villa de Sanctis park in Rome and there has been a really good participation of people interested to the workshop and to exhibition.
These examples show that creative activities are not only effective way of highlighting environmental problems, but also an attractive and pleasant occupation for participants and observers. Creative activities are more pleasing than, for example, seminars, lectures and have stronger effect, also can be understood and accepted internationally.
All good practices were collected during Grundtvig project “Earth S.O.S. through Eco-Creativity”. The project is funded by the European Commission. This article reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.