Speaking up for nature as RSPB NIlaunches Artist of the Year challenge

RSPB art SM Farm

RSPB NI, the leading wildlife conservation charity, is calling for aspiring artists to speak up for nature, highlighting the nature and climate emergency.

Whether you’re a complete beginner, budding artist or have a wealth of experience, the charity – with the support of TEDxStormont and the world-renowned contemporary visual artist Colin Davidson – is calling on artists of all ages to use their skills to illustrate a nature rich and climate safe future they want to see for Northern Ireland as part of its Revive Our World campaign.

Building on the idea of activist art, a term used to describe art that is grounded in the act of ‘doing’ to address political or social issues, the competition aims to give a platform to a range of voices showing those in power why they should address the nature and climate emergency before it’s too late.

The winners will not only be crowned Artist of the Year but the artwork will be centre stage at TEDxStormont Countdown in November to coincide with the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26).

Colin Davidson, who is one of the judges for the competition, said: “Art can capture and communicate a uniquely personal experience.

“Portraying the spirit and emotion of a subject is what drives me in my work.

“Art can offer the viewer a door into another way of looking at our world, and that’s why I’m looking forward to seeing the entries for this year’s competition, to see what excites people about the future of Northern Ireland.”

Sara McCracken, RSPB NI’s Head of Fundraising and Communications, commented: “Throughout history some of the biggest changes have been brought about by a small group of passionate people, from civil rights to votes for women, including the start of the RSPB itself.

“Over the years artists have explored and documented history and politics to huge effect.

“The nature and climate emergency is the defining issue of our time, this is your chance to have your say and ‘canvas’ for nature.”

Curator of TEDxStormont, Eva Grosman, added: “At TEDx we passionately believe in the power of ideas to inspire, change attitudes, lives and ultimately the world.

“The Countdown initiative is the perfect opportunity for Northern Ireland’s climate change experts and environmental leaders to discuss ideas for change.

“The nature and climate emergency effects everyone, and through this competition we want to shine a spotlight on the voices of the public who want to see a change in how we treat our natural world.”

There are no restrictions on the type of artwork – it can be anything from photography and painting to ceramics or even crochet.

The competition is split into four categories: Adults (18+), under eights, 8-11, and 12-17.

Please email a photo of your artwork to Campaigns.NI@rspb.org.uk with the heading ‘Canvasing for Nature Competition’, with your entry details (name, age, contact telephone number) and category by July 20.

The artworks will be judged by Colin Davidson supported by a panel made up of representatives by RSPB NI and TEDxStormont.

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