As millions mobilized for the online celebration of Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary, street artists from around the globe joined the Earth Day Global Halt campaign to showcase hundreds of climate-themed masterpieces. This week we’re highlighting two artists taking action every day for the environment. After all, Earth day isn’t just a day — it’s a movement.
Qurbani Akbar grew up in Aceh, Indonesia surrounded by nature. After connecting with other street artists, Qurbani became inspired to create his own vibrant pieces intertwining man and nature.
“Environment has a big influence over my artwork,” Qurbani says. “I want to enjoy this beautiful landscape and all the creatures inside it. It’s very simple, I cannot bear to think that this beautiful world will be gone. It concerns me!”
Qurbani’s art illustrates the importance of balance between humans and nature. Indonesia — one of the world’s largest producers of palm oil — clears massive amounts of land to keep up with the growing demand for palm oil, which forces endangered species such as orangutans, elephants, rhinos and tigers even closer to extinction. In addition, with capital city Jakarta set to move to Borneo, an island shared with Malaysia and Brunei, environmentalists fear that this will have its own host of issues for biodiversity and the indigenous groups that call the island home.
Qurbani’s #2020halt street art masterpiece, Together Forever, boldly highlights the interconnectedness between man and nature with eye-catching coloration. “I believe in balance. I believe we can live with nature,” Qurbani shares. “Be kind to other human beings, be kind to other creatures.”
Born and raised in Thailand, street artist Mauy has traveled and made the world his canvas, driven by his passion to preserve the environment and wildlife.
“I am very afraid of extinction,” Mauy voices. “I always think that every life deserves to live on this earth and in my head I think about the problems animals and the environment face. I try to present it in every aspect in order to remind people there is other life still living on earth with us.”
Mauy grew up surrounded by nature and is distressed by the environmental issues plaguing Thailand. Over the past few decades, Thailand has experienced increased environmental degradation including loss of biodiversity, deforestation, climate change and air and water pollution.
Mauy’s artistic abilities bring his #2020halt street art illustration, Animals Burning, to life on a canal wall at a water festival in Thailand. This depiction of a burning polar bear represents wildlife attempting to escape from the detrimental consequences of living on a warming planet.
“I don’t want people to think that this problem is far from ourselves,” Mauy says. “Wild animals are the same. We are all animals. We are friends. We just got lucky to get the good developing brains and creative hands. So, why don’t we use these amazing gifts to take care of the environment where we are living. We could use the skills we have to save this world. To make it be a better world.”
A picture is worth a thousand words, making art an integral part to the environmental movement. EARTHDAY.ORG’s Artists for the Earth campaign connects artists and art organizations around the world to inspire climate action. Sign up and donate to support this program today.
Photo credit for image at top: Together Forever by @qurbaniakbar on Instagram
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