Artists at COP26 - Where Climate Change and Art Collide

  • NEW YORK, New York
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  • November 12, 2021

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Art in the Time of Corona 8 - Space Solar Recovery Roses by Selva Ozelli

Representatives from countries around the world some twenty thousand diplomats, business executives, activists, museum directors, curators, world leaders, artists gathered in Glasgow, Scotland, for the latest round of climate talks—the twenty-sixth Conference of the Parties (COP26) from October 31 to November 12, 2021  to focus on  a green recovery from the pandemic.

Artists joined the conference with their solo digital art shows as well as interviews  to mark Earth Information (Nov 3), Energy (Nov 4), Tsunami (Nov 5), Nature (Nov 6) , Health (Nov 9)  and Gender (Nov 9) Days at the COP26.   You may find links to the art shows here: 


Earth Information Day kicked off on  November 3 with artist Selva Ozelli’s new Art in the Time of Corona 7 - Recovery Roses: art show.


“My art show underlines that people worldwide should not live-in constant fear of COVID-19, which has brought devastation to millions around the world, disrupting many parts of the global economy.  Launched for the first time on Earth Information day at COP26,  my art show includes a portrait of vaccine maker BioNTech co-founder Dr. Ugur Sahin” explained artist Selva Ozelli. 


“My second  art show, which I launched for the first time on Energy Day at COP26 Art in the Time of Corona 8 - Space Solar Recovery Roses: celebrates clean energy technologies that protect lives and livelihoods” added artist Selva Ozelli.



Nature day at COP26 welcomed artists Serife Akkan (urbanization), Semine Hazar (sea), Fatma Kadir (bird), Mehmet Kuran (forest)  Selva Ozelli (pollution/pandemic), and Ilhan Sayin (flowers) themed solo art shows.


“With my Magical Forest Art Show I exhibited on nature day at COP26,  I wanted to point out that we have to understand one thing now. We are not the owners of this world. We are guests. We are no different than an antelope or a lizard. As guests, we must respect this magnificent planet. We must live elegantly. By trying to be beneficial to our environment. By sharing. It is certain that beautiful days lie ahead. Change has begun.  At least 110 countries including Turkey – which represent 85% of the planet's forests-- pledged to end and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030” explained artist Mehmet Kuran.


For the COP26 conference, artist Selva Ozelli interviewed several world art/museum directors from Canada (largest civic museum in Canada), China (the first climate change museum in the World), India (largest chain of science museums in the world), UK, USA -- who implemented artistic climate change educational and exhibition programs to educate the general public. 


Ben Twist the founder of Creative Carbon Scotland explained his organization’s initiatives concerning getting artists, and creative sector involved in sustainability, climate change education, action, and partnerships “All of our work is based on this belief: that the arts and culture have an essential role in achieving the transformational change to a sustainable future.   


In 2013 Creative Carbon Scotland established the Green Arts Initiative, a community of practice of over 300 cultural organizations committed to reducing their environmental impact. 


Membership is free and any organization can join, they just need to nominate a Green Champion and commit to improving their environmental performance. We provide advice and resources, a friendly voice at the end of the telephone, and we put people in touch with organizations facing similar challenges, so they can help and learn from each other. We also run an annual conference, bringing people together so they know they’re not alone. 

Having started with the practical carbon management work including the above-mentioned mandatory reporting program for Creative Scotland, we initiated another successful program – culture/SHIFT – which works more conceptually and helps apply creative and cultural practices to climate change projects and organizations to help them achieve their climate change objectives. 


A big part of this is what we call our ‘Embedded Artist Projects, where we place artists in a climate change project, not to make artistic work but to apply the skills and practices from their field into the project, in much the same way as an engineer or accountant might do. Some artists are very good at public engagement or helping communities imagine a different future; some are good at handling complexity and contradictory issues in a positive way that other professionals might find difficult. Often these skills are under-valued both by artists and those in climate change – but with climate change we know that doing what we have always done is not enough and isn’t working. We need new ways of working, and artists can help provide these.”


You may find these interviews which were published at COP26 here: and here:

Selva Ozelli
Selva Ozelli

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