Dead mer-people caught in fishing nets on the streets of Glasgo; a set of ‘insanely good’ syncronised swimming ladies and a mermaid in Penzance’s freezing iconic lido; a sculptural Viking boat with a sombre fisherman in a ‘Sou’wester’ hat and coat outside the COP26 venue; a compelling film starring Cornish schoolchildren highlighting the tribal philosophy of considering the seven generations to come which has been passed around the globe, and Celtic conversations heard by thousands across the Cornish and Scottish radio waves.
Art as activism
These displays of art as activism are just a few of the powerful and resonant outputs of the Cornwall-conceived COP26 Shout LOUDER arts programme that is now set to be sustainably upcycled A renewed funding commitment to environmental arts projects will help ensure that we all know that world leaders who were at G7 and COP26 must be held accountable in delivering what they promised and that the actions of all of us in this climate emergency will make a difference.
Community cultural projects
Creative Kernow’s FEAST programme which has been investing in a wide range of community cultural projects across Cornwall for the last 14 years, has announced that it will now commission a re-edit of the Shout LOUDER COP26 digital compendium, whilst continuing to support the ongoing evolution of all of the work that was created by 12 separate projects the length and breadth of Cornwall and new creative projects that explore what we can do as communities in response to the emergency.
Idyllic filmic picture postcards juxtaposed with the horror of first-hand climate change, an anthology of 26 new poems and a life-sized Grim Reaper are just some of the ‘contents’ of the inspiring digital compendium of work that will continue to Shout LOUDER in a myriad of sustainable ways, well into the future.
Broad and diverse
Director of FEAST, Rose Barnecut, sayid: “A broad and diverse gathering of Cornwall’s artists, alongside over 200 participants, of all ages, ethnicities and abilities, came together around our callout for COP26 and all created incredible artistic statements or performances.
“Some travelled to Glasgow to physically show their work, including Chris Nixon with his sculptural Grim Reaper, Andrew and Grace of Terra Attune with their Stone Circle made completely from ocean plastic waste gathered from beaches around Padstow and Rob Higgs and Sophie Miller with their related artistic dead mer-people and sculptural boat.
“Others performed their work in locations across Cornwall, or used mediums such as radio or social media to ensure their work, and their statements, reached listeners, viewers and artistic appreciators, and fellow activists, in Cornwall, in Glasgow and right around the globe. The collective input, and resulting impact has been major.”
Rose continued: “Our work is far from finished just because COP26 is over, and the world leaders and their delegations have returned home.
“FEAST’s commissioning ethos was very much around creating sustainable, living art and pieces that could continue to evolve, rather than one-offs that would ‘die’ when COP26 completed.
“We can probably all agree that post-COP26 and post-G7, there is still a great deal that our world and local leaders need to do – and our Cornish artists will continue to push, push, push to demand that decisions are made at all levels in the light of this devastating climate emergency.”
Terra Attune created one of the Shout LOUDER projects entitled The Plastic Age as a physical monument to the work of the Cornish Beach Guardian volunteers who extracted waste plastic material from the seven bays surrounding Padstow.
The Hidden Garden
The team took the work to Glasgow where they exhibited at The Hidden Garden, and ran workshops on the lawn of Scotland’s Sanctuary Garden, alongside the sacred fire kept lit by Minga Indigena, indigenous elders from across the Americas hosted at the gardens, as part of the COP26 People’s Coalition.
The act in activism
Andrew Whittle says, “For us, art activism puts the act in activism. Not a performative act, but one that is an act of rich engagement, expressing ourselves, conserving our environments, making with others and actively communicating our imaginations. Today, facing our toxic systems and their constraints, being an artist foremost is fighting towards liberation of our spirits.
“Our Shout LOUDER project personifies everything Terra Attune believes about how art can be most powerful and good for the earth; it is interdisciplinary, site-sensitive, drawn from nature and community-focused. We must continue to use this art today as a connecting force, to bring together conservation, science and culture and to become a part of community-sufficient, cyclical economies to create precedents like this for our symbiotic future.”
Art of activism
Rose Barnecut says, “All of the Shout LOUDER projects sent clear and strong messages about the urgency of the need for change, actually not by shouting but by being creative, emotional and considered. By continuing to support them, to encourage their ongoing sustainable evolution, we can work all work collectively to ‘ramp’ up the volume, to hold our leaders accountable and to hold them firm to their recent promises, to ensure they can’t simply ‘cop out.’”
Shout LOUDER is the final part of the G7 Kernow Cultural Legacy Programme. Supported by Cabinet Office, National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council England and Cornwall Council the project is instigated and managed by FEAST, part of Creative Kernow. Creative Kernow is the creative and cultural sector support organisation for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The charity has a mission to enrich and energise creative communities of place and practice. FEAST, the well-established arts programme has been investing in a wide range of community cultural projects across Cornwall for the last 14 years.