On April 22, millions of people mobilized for the environment in a massive digital activation on Earth Day’s 50th anniversary. This historic event launched Earth Day Global Halt, a campaign showcasing hundreds of climate-themed urban art pieces from around the world.
With the hashtag #2020halt, the project connected artists across the globe as they envisioned our future on a warming planet. This week, we’re highlighting Run, an Iranian street artist who draws attention to environmental issues through her colorful, evocative creations.
Run has been drawing or painting for as long as she can remember. But when she began taking art classes, she felt bored — as if something were missing.
“I didn’t like painting in a realistic way,” Run said. “I started to get into anime and wanted to be an animator. Later I started getting into games, then characters… [my pictures] were inspired by society — old people, younger kids or what we are facing in Iran.”
At 19 years old, she took up street art. She worked with stencils, then graduated to freehand sketches layered with multiple coats of paint.
Run’s works often feature a female figure symbolizing the natural world, her eyes obscured or melting.
“I didn’t want to show the eyes,” Run said. “We don’t need eyes to feel things.”
Other motifs she uses include brilliant butterflies and flowers.
For #2020halt, she submitted Mother Earth, “a portrait of a girl coming out of the earth like she is part of [it],” she said. “We are all part of the same thing and this is the perfect earth we want.”
Run is concerned about deforestation and flooding in Iran.
“In the north, we have a lot of jungles and forests,” she said. “They are killing the animals, and we have had floods in the last three years, especially in cities in the south…because [they’re] cutting trees.”
In April 2019, Iran News Wire reported that the increasing floods were due to a long list of preventable causes. In addition to the removal of over 30% of the nation’s forests, they include destruction of fields, lack of levees and floodwalls, insufficient river dredging, broken dams, heavy sediments accumulating behind dams, construction on agricultural land and riverine development.
Excessive rainfall resulting from climate change is exacerbating the problem.
Run also worries about Chinese overfishing in Iran’s Persian Gulf and tourism development impacting the pristine ecosystems of the southern islands.
She believes people have to change themselves to help save the planet and seeks to empower her viewers to take action in whatever way they can, even if it’s as simple as planting a tree.
“People have to think…that [if] they want this perfect earth — that they are part of it and [can’t] ruin it,” Run said.
Artists are integral to the environmental movement, making the daunting subject of climate change personal. Earth Day Network’s Artists for the Earth campaign connects artists and arts organizations around the world for climate action: Donate to support this program today.
Photo credit for image at top: Water Shortage by @mynameis.run on Instagram
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