A new series of graffiti wall murals have been unveiled in Shoreditch, to raise awareness of global warming. The project – on Great Eastern Street’s Art Wall – was commissioned by Oxfam to highlight people around the globe whose lives are already being destroyed by climate change.
The murals will be presented for three weeks by development company The Stage, who have created the art wall as part of a programme to exhibit the work of local artists in collaboration with a number of charities.
Inspiration has come directly from the recent climate change protests taking place across London and the globe, in particular the large Extinction Rebellion movement. The wall calls for members of the public to learn more about the cause on Oxfam’s website or on social media by searching #WhoTakesTheHeat.
Sarah Watson, Oxfam’s Climate Campaign Manager, said: “We wanted to use this fantastic opportunity to confront people with the stark reality of the climate emergency. This not just a crisis of the future – real people are already going hungry, losing their homes and being pushed deeper into poverty. We wanted to combine these hard facts with a call to action, inspired by the young people who have taken to the streets in the UK and around the world to join them in demanding urgent action.”
Oxfam’s mural consists of three images that have been created by four graffiti artists from Shoreditch-based organisation Global Street Art Agency, and took four days to create. A fourth panel reads: “The world’s poorest people are being pushed further into poverty and hunger by a climate emergency they did not cause. It’s not too late if we act now.”
Kai Tabacek, a spokesperson for Oxfam told East London Lines: “Me and my colleagues at Oxfam were inspired by the young people who took to the streets in London and across the world last month. We wanted to stand in solidarity with them to demand urgent action on climate change.”
The panels depict real people who have faced genuine hardship. In the first panel, Mako, an Ethiopian farmer, has lost her entire herd of cattle to drought and now struggles to feed her baby Amaal.
Lipi and Zeyda are depicted up to their chests in floodwater in the second panel. The island that their village stands on, in Bangladesh’s Jamuna River, is prone to flooding but they cannot afford to move to safer ground.
Third in the sequence is an image of Shaud, a survivor of Cyclone Idai, who has lost her home and her crops so her family now has no source of income.
Tabacek added: “It was important that we used their names to underline the fact that they are people like you and me. Street artists at Global then interpreted the photos using spray cans to create this striking mural.
“We hope passers-by will be inspired to join us and the millions of others who joined climate strikes in demanding urgent action from leaders to tackle the climate emergency.”
Global Street Art CEO and Co-founder Lee Bofkin said: “Our work has a great capacity to reach a lot of people directly in the streets. Working with The Stage, we are in a fortunate position to use the Great Eastern Art Wall as a platform to raise awareness for important causes & organisations through the captivating power of art.”