The Art of New York’s Climate Change Demonstrations

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Madre Tierra.
Photo: @natybynature via Instagram.
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The making of Swoon's Climate Ribbon Grove.Photo: @StudioSwoon via Facebook.
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Photo: Amy Dewan, courtesy Peopleclimate.org.
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Today world leaders will gather for the UN Climate Summit at the United Nations in New York to discuss issues related to climate change and global warming. On Sunday, over 310,000 people from across the globe made their way to the Big Apple to voice their concerns about the urgent issue, the Chicago Tribune reports, and on Monday thousands of protesters made good on their promise to “Flood Wall Street” in a protest inspired by Hokusai‘s famous The Great Wave Off Kanagawa (see “#FloodWallStreet’s Artist-Inspired Protest Descends On New York“).

The People’s Climate March is claiming to have been the biggest of its kind and the photos certainly seem to confirm it. Parades of men, women, grandparents, and children were accompanied by individual signs and collaborative banners. But it’s not only ordinary citizens who took to art to express their concern; artists joined in the creative protest as well. Brooklyn-based artist Swoon, in collaboration with Climate Ribbon, created the Climate Ribbon Grove—an intricate interactive outdoor installation of a wooden sanctuary flanked by ribbons. Marchers were invited to write their names and a statement declaring what he or she hoped would not disappear from the Earth.

Conceptual artist John Bonafede, dressed up in a suit and tie—an overt reference to the corporations that continue to damage our natural environment in service of profit—dragged a trashcan lid filled with steaming dried ice for four hours while two friends held up the Alaska state flag behind him, Hyperallergic reported. Bonafede’s eloquent and foreboding piece, titled Diminishing Circle, commented on the melting polar icecaps. Political arts collective Papel Machete built a giant puppet, dubbed Madre Tierra, a work reminiscent of Peter Schumann’s Bread and Puppet Theater creations.


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