CLIMARTE: Arts for a Safe Climate

Media release 8 December 2010

It’s time for the arts to take a stand on climate change

As political leaders continue to negotiate small steps for action on climate change in Cancun in Mexico, a new non partisan and not for profit group has formed to represent the deep running climate concerns of people working in all sectors of the Australian Arts industry.

The new initiative launched in Melbourne today calls for all those involved in the arts sector— including arts organisations, practitioners, administrators, patrons and academics from the visual arts, music, theatre, dance, literature, design, architecture, and cinema—to form a broad alliance to advocate for urgent action to address the critical threat of climate change.

CLIMARTE co-founder and convenor Guy Abrahams said: “We have heard the scientists. We have watched and waited for our politicians to act. We have watched them argue amongst themselves and then do almost nothing. We have witnessed a failure of leadership, a failure of nerve, a failure of creativity, and a failure of morality. Perhaps the Federal Government’s new Climate Change Committee marks a move in the right direction; but let’s not wait to see.”

Launched during the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, CLIMARTE hopes to attract a strong following in the arts sector to help create a growing influence from civil society for action on climate change.

“By joining CLIMARTE members will acknowledge the enormous risks that human induced climate change poses to our world,” Mr Abrahams said.

“Our aim is to create a strong arts voice to join with other concerned citizens in calling for immediate, effective action to be taken to restore a safe climate.”

The arts have a unique role in communicating the risk of climate change in ways that scientists cannot, Mr Abrahams said.

“The arts can not only show but indeed they can make us feel the very problems that we are facing. They can inspire us to acknowledge that we are part of nature and not separate from it.”

For more information contact Guy Abrahams at or 0409 428 600

Green Apps

iPhone mania has resulted in the development of a number of “green” apps, some of which are more useful than others. Here is a selection… Carbon Tracker (lets you measure your carbon footprint), Good Guide (gives info on the green credentials of 65,000 (US) products), Pollution (gives air quality readings for 1300 cities), iNewz Green (gathers green news from the web), Shop Ethical (based on the Australian Ethical Shopping Guide), and Sceptical Science (tells you how to respond to the climate sceptic in your life!).

Stormy Weather: Contemporary Landscape Photography

Rosemary LAING weather #9 2006 from the weather series 2006 type C photograph (109.9 x 184.6 cm) (image) ed. 4/8

Stormy Weather: Contemporary Landscape Photography

The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia

Federation Square, Melbourne

To be opened by Guy Abrahams on 22 September at 6.00pm. Bookings essential.

Stormy Weather charts some contemporary approaches to the landscape through the work of eleven Australian photographers.

Photographers’ interest in the landscape has increased in the last few years. Perhaps as a result of heightened environmental awareness, or an evolution in our engagement with Australian history, practitioners are again turning to the natural world as a site for critical practice and inspiration.

Drawn from the permanent collection the National Gallery of Victoria, the selected photographers in this exhibition have a particular focus that comes from their active relationship to various environments. The artists displayed here reveal history in a landscape; provoke ecological concerns; use the landscape as a site of performance; or reveal the distinctive beauty of a place.

Frequently underpinning these works of quiet intensity and considerable beauty is an undercurrent of disruption and contradiction that suggests all is not as it may first appear

Photographers include Rosemary Laing; Harry Nankin; David Stephenson; Richard Woldendorp; Nici Cumpston, Anne Ferran and Jill Orr.

© Jill Orr

Symposium: Stormy Weather: Contemporary Landscape Photography
Sat 25 Sep, 10am–1.30pm

A stimulating and informative symposium to mark the opening of Stormy Weather. Several of the artists included in the exhibition will present talks in which they discuss their working methods and how the Australian environment has influenced their practice.
Introduction Dr Isobel Crombie, Curator, Photography, NGV
Speakers Anne Ferran, Jill Orr, Harry Nankin, Siri Hayes, exhibiting artists
Cost $42 Adult / $40 NGV Member / $39 Concession & Student (includes morning tea, bookings essential)
Venue Theatre, Ground Level, NGV Australia

Bayside Climate Change Action Group

Monthly Meeting – 7.30 pm Wednesday 28 July 20


What has art got to do with the environment?


Guy Abrahams

“The arts can not only show but indeed make us feel the very problems that we are facing. They can allow us to have a foretaste of our possible futures, both bad and good. The arts can help us to imagine what sort of society we really want, not merely what others say we should want, or what we should be prepared to accept”

Want to Light up a Movement? Think Art, Engage the Heart

“Right now the left brain really isn’t doing the trick. We’ve known about climate change for 20 years—known that it’s the greatest threat humans have ever had to deal with. And so far we’ve done…nothing. Oh, some little stuff here and there, but nothing on a scale big enough to matter. Environmentalists have believed that the scientific facts— unimpeachable, and unbearable—would be enough to force action. They’ve believed fervently in statistic, in bar graphs, in pie charts, in white papers, in executive summaries, in closed-door briefings. It’s all noble, but it’s meant that we never managed to build a movement around global warming. You don’t build movements with bar graphs.” Bill McKibben. Read more…

Tim Winton – Art for Sharks

After three sell out Brisbane shows, Art for Sharks 2010 will be held for the first time in Melbourne to allow Melbourne’s ocean loving art appreciators the chance to attend this inspirational event. Our Patron Tim Winton will make one of his rare public appearances on the night, and up to 50 pieces of outstanding artwork will be available for sale (through live and silent auction) from some of Australia’s most sought after artists. All funds raised from Art for Sharks will go specifically towards our Sustainable Seafood campaign, the importance of which has never been greater.