Arabian Horse, supported by Ajman Tourism Development Department.
Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer
As the 28th session of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) approaches, ZeeArts, a global art incubator specialising in curating bespoke art initiatives and consultancy services based in Dubai, aims to make a significant impact with new groundbreaking initiatives, among which are ‘United for Climate’ and ‘SDGs through Arts.’
‘United for Climate’ celebrates the Spirit of the Union through arts and it sees the arts promoter in collaboration with COP28. In a venture that merges Art and Environment, ZeeArts’ project aims to harness the creativity of the global and local artistic communities to drive climate action and sustainability, spotlighting the UAE’s commitment to leading action on the climate. It seeks to foster global impact, raise awareness and emphasise unity through art, facilitating collaboration between international artists and their counterparts in the UAE. It is also resulting in the creation – right now - of seven public artworks using recycled materials, to be displayed at COP28.
A visionary venture, the goal is not only to empower artists worldwide, but also pioneer sustainable approaches by emphasising Recycling, Reducing and Repurposing waste, in the creation of art masterpieces. ZeeArts seeks to fulfil SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) through Arts to bring transformation to the world. SDGs are a call to action to end poverty and inequality, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy health, justice and prosperity. In 2015, all the countries in the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It sets out 17 Goals, which include 169 targets and all of them interconnect, since they are cross-cutting. Progress in the implementation of one goal contributes to progress towards the fulfilment of other goals, and action on all goals in turn means attaining a single, individual goal.
Zaahirah Muthy is Founder and CEO of ZeeArts.
ZeeArts terms its initiative regarding SDGs “a paradigm shift in Sustainable Art creation.” “ZeeArts is revolutionising the intersection of art and environmental responsibility with its initiative SDGs through Arts,” says Zaahirah Muthy, ZeeArts Founder and CEO. “This global initiative focuses on addressing the SDGs by engaging local and international artists to educate, engage, and raise awareness on local and global issues. The works of four artists under this initiative will be displayed at COP28.” Art has the power to transcend barriers and create a profound impact on society, she adds. “Through SDGs through Arts, we are demonstrating that art can be a driving force for change, inspiring communities and promoting responsible environmental practices.”
A panel discussion titled Art is a Catalyst for Social Change hosted by ZeeArts at COP28 bridges Art and Climate Action. To be held on December 9, it brings together key stakeholders, including artists, partners, United Nations representatives and government officials. The theme underscores the pivotal role of art in raising awareness and driving action to address climate change and its associated challenges, Muthy says. The panel aims to foster dialogue among key actors involved in COP28 and SDGs through Arts, showcasing the transformative power of art in driving social change.
“The panel discussion serves as a platform for continued collaboration and innovation in leveraging art for climate action,” Muthy says. “We believe that by bringing together diverse perspectives, we can amplify the impact of art as a catalyst for social change. ZeeArt’s commitment to sustainability aligns seamlessly with COP28’s focus on addressing climate change, making it a pivotal addition to the global conversation on environmental responsibility and artistic expression.” ZeeArts works out of Dubai, and is on a mission to Connect, Collaborate and Celebrate the arts through an array of artistic initiatives and projects. Since its inception, it has cultivated a calendar featuring a myriad of artistic and cultural endeavours, including Art Connects Women, SDGs through Arts, Mauritius Art Fair and Africa Speaks-54.
Beginning the new millennium, artists have taken on climate change as the subject matter of their work. They joined hands with activists and began to see climate change as a social problem. It was then only a short distance to realise that they too, alongside journalists and scientists, could do something to heighten public engagement with the pressing issue of climate change. Early American environmentalist and philosopher Henry David Thoreau wrote - as long ago as 1854 - in his book Walden that “it is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look ... To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.” Works of art have directly represented the environment, such as Constable’s Cloud Series, Monet’s London Series, or Cezanne’s Mont Sainte Victoire Series. More recently, Long’s A Line Made by Walking or Turrell’s Skyspaces, have addressed the issue of environment. British artist Richard Long made a sculpture in 1967 when he walked a continuous line into a field of grass in Wiltshire, England, and then photographed the result. The work is considered to be an important early work in the history of both land art and conceptual art. American artist James Turrell’s Skyspace: The Way of Color, one in his Skyspace series, emphasises the relationship between us and the world around us. It is a type of artwork that takes nature as its medium, giving attention to human beings’ impact on nature and the ways they are endangering it.
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