EARTH REQUIEM brings powerful art and activism to the public to reflect on religion and coexistence for a common goal: Saving the planet.
Art Prize Seven, Grand Rapids, MI. First oil painting "Fragile Environments" short-listed for Public Vote Grand Prize Award, 2015. http://www.artprize.org/61956
Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)
EARTH REQUIEM is an awareness art project that is radical and unique. It expresses the importance of coexistence and peace between humans, the environment, and different religions and cultures. This project will benefit the community in two important ways: 1) Creating a public space for spiritual art that is inclusive, bridging the divide between different religions and cultures. 2) By creatively igniting the spirit of activism in the community. Oftentimes, giving people too much written or spoken information leaves them feeling overwhelmed and disconnected from issues. This is where EARTH REQUIEM can truly make a difference.
The project is a warning to humanity on how climate change creates apocalyptic conditions for our future by envisioning a dystopian cathedral where the degradation of nature is symbolized by a series of vandalized landscape paintings hung on the cross. Fourteen 9 x 8 ft paintings are installed to create a ritual-like space and the paintings are renditions of American landscape masterpieces. To convey the abuse of our planet, artist Diana Wege added realistically rendered graffiti. One painting is graffitied with bills passed by Congress that undermine the Clean Air and Water Act. She then placed the art outdoors, where they are vulnerable and unprotected —like the real environment — and was subjected to more graffiti on the street.
A libretto is repeated in 69 different languages by choirs to implore listeners to intervene. A large book will rest on the altar, comprised of sacred texts of 8 major world religions and 9 books by conservationists. Viewers can read and interact with the writings contained in the book. There is a great need for artistic social activism to make people stop, look and listen, to address social issues. The religious undertones express that religion isn't always divisive and can still play a significant role in world peace.
Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)
Our beneficiaries encompass people of every age, race, gender, sexual orientation and religion because climate change affects every person on the planet. Some people will experience far greater impact such as children in developing countries with less water, less food and poor health.
Diseases like Malaria, which claims the lives of nearly 800,000 children per year, is one of many diseases that are sensitive to changes in temperature and rainfall, and will become more common if weather patterns continue to change. In the U.S. alone, recent hurricanes have claimed 12,000 lives, affecting millions. Research shows the intensity of hurricanes will increase due to global warming.
Project beneficiaries will engage in the art to promote dialogue between diverse groups of people from different religions and cultures who often do not have opportunities to interact with one another. They'll receive materials on how to save the planet, including lists of local organizations to contact.
How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)
The difference between our idea and similar work is that we approach activism by inspiring action through art. We draw to the attention of the community through bold expressionism and end the exhibit with an action plan.
Advantages include combining two social change methods that typically do not coexist to resolve issues. Most art-related activism calls to the attention to problems without giving participants any advice and most nonprofits are solely focused on standard approaches to awareness that rarely taps into any creativity. We will combine these two elements of activism to inspire our audience to not only view art but to use it to become changemakers.
Our project will be successful because it promotes sustainable change by challenging norms and beliefs and is influenced by different cultures and religions to evolve our thoughts. The piece calls into question the values and institutions in our society, helping people reimagine a better, more collaborative world.
Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)
Prototype: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing the idea.
Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)
Diana Wege is a New York-based, conceptual artist who uses her practice to passionately express the nexus between the environment and social justice
Organization Filing Status
Yes, we are a registered company.
In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.
Diana Wege began the painting series for this installation during President Obama’s campaign for a second term after observing that opponents promised to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency. She committed herself to reaching as many voters as possible with an appeal to safeguard this federal agency through art and activism.
Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).
EARTH REQUIEM will create a bridge between different religious communities and cultures, and all of humanity with a common goal: to save the planet. Peace is influenced by religious tensions around the world and how people view religions as divisive instead of collaborative and uplifting. The book on the altar has eight sacred texts of major world religions and nine books by conservationists to symbolize peace between religions on Earth. The paintings seek to end violence towards the Earth and are hung on the cross to symbolize sacrifice and forgiveness.
The project will show how politicians contribute through deregulation and policy. We will utilize peacebuilding through symbolism and activism, promote cooperation through partnering with different religious groups and different climate change advocates, and illustrate coexistence by combining different languages and religions into one book called Earth.
Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)
The hallmark of this project is building community partnerships to promote coexistence. We'll partner with local choirs to sing an original song about the destruction of the planet, promoting coexistence by repeating the lyrics in 69 different languages. Performers will engage directly with the viewers and invite them to read and discuss the texts with the urgent reminder that we must all unite to save the planet.
Organizations that we hope to partner with include Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) and Interfaith Summit on Climate Change (ISCC). CCL works with concerned New Yorkers to slow the effects of climate change by influencing legislation and teaching people how to protect ecosystems. ISCC works to gather people from different faiths and traditions, to stand together to protect the environment. We will use local organizations as a resource for our viewers to seek guidance on how to participate in changing the world and will list contacts to further the goal of the art project.
Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)
It is no surprise that New York City is the most diverse and culturally dynamic city in the country (ranked 6th in the world). With almost 200 languages spoken, 40% of the New York population is foreign born. There are hundreds of consulates, embassies and permanent U.N. missions. Approximately 74% of New Yorkers identify as Christian, 39% Catholic, 5% Jewish, and 3% Islamic. There is no better place to host an art event about the planet, cultural and religious coexistence than in NYC.
This idea targets the entire world and all of humanity.
How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)
We anticipate that our project will be fully completed and ready for public viewing and participation by April 2020, a 24-month timeline.
Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)
If Yes, how has project idea changed, grown, or evolved since last year? (2,000 characters)