A senior at Macalester college, majoring in both environmental studies and studio art, I seek to address and communicate environmental issues through my art. I’ve been involved with Macalester’s Fossil Fuel Divestment campaign since its inception in the Spring of 2013, and in the Fall of 2013 took on the role of Student Outreach Lead. My role within Fossil Free Mac, as well as a class I took on the psychology of sustainable behavior, both got me thinking about how scientists, activists, organizers, and everyday people choose to communicate, and just talk about, climate change. As a terrifying global issue, many of us psychologically distance ourselves from it. It’s just that scary, and that big. However, it’s incredible effects aren’t felt proportionately. Here in the Global North, many of us have decided that we have the option of putting the issue at the back of our heads-- it’s a scary thing, and it might not be as directly affecting us right now. However, we are feeling its effects here. And for an issue that the Global North is contributing to so much, it’s really not okay for us to ignore its disproportionate effects on the Global South. Climate change is a time sensitive issue, and everyone can choose to play a part now.
My portraits in this show are meant to engage viewers with the issue of climate change in the local context. Each portrait is displayed with a set of headphones allowing viewers to listen to an edited version of an interview I conducted with the participant. During these interviews, participants told me their stories of climate change here in the twin cities-- maybe their activist role, maybe how it's affecting their crops as a gardener. All told me of the incredible community they’ve found within the climate movement, and spoke of how empowering it is as more and more people, coming from all different places, backgrounds, livelihoods, are getting involved. My hope is that viewers of my project interact with the paintings and the stories of others here in the twin cities, finding them personally relatable-- and so climate change a relatable and local thing. In lessening the psychological distance of climate change, I hope to encourage viewers to act on the issue here in the twin cities.