Art has long served as a voice to express concern over issues that affect human society.
Certainly one of the most pressing problems that confronts the current generation is the long-term health of the planet. Answers to the challenges presented by overpopulation, endangered wildlife, costly sources of energy, air and water pollution, climate change, diminishing farmland and deforestation are sought by a host of organizations and individuals.
Studio Art Quilt Associates, an organization that exists to promote art quilts and the artists who make them, issued a call for artists to submit proposals for works that would highlight a person or group that is working to improve the Earth. Entries were received from the United States, Europe and the Middle East. Juror Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi, a decorated quilt artist herself, selected a group of 24 proposals based on compelling themes as well as the technical and artistic skills demonstrated in the artists’ portfolios. “I looked for work that would emotionally draw me in … pieces with the distinctive voice of the artist coming through which would be memorable and move my spirit,” Mazloomi said.
The resulting works touch upon a variety of themes and the initiatives that are underway by a number of organizations and individuals to address some of the planet’s problems. Community projects such as The Tenderloin People’s Garden in San Francisco, the seismic-resistant housing efforts of Architecture for Humanity and the housing preservation group Haushaltenin Leipzig, Germany, inspired works that showcased the push to promote urban sustainability.
Artists Regina V. Benson, Cynthia St. Charles, and Jennifer Day chose to focus on the growing effort to harness renewable energy, while Nancy Cook, Annie Helmericks-Louder, Alicia Merrett, Leni Levenson Wiener, Mary Pal and Noriko Endo all created quilts that turn the spotlight on preserving the rich variety of wildlife on the Earth.
Other works look at projects that are attempting to improve the health of our forests and waterways, as well as efforts that address overpopulation and sustainable agriculture. The rich and colorful quilts that resulted from this project are not only strikingly beautiful in their own right, but they serve the purpose of focusing attention upon the worldwide struggle to protect and preserve our planet.