Scottish artist Robert Montgomery collaborates with Little Sun and Octopus Energy to create a huge solar-powered light poem titled ‘Grace of the Sun‘ that calls on leaders at the UN climate conference (COP26) to invest and commit to renewable energy. The art installation is made possible by green entech pioneer Octopus Energy and MTArt Agency.
‘Grace of the Sun‘ has been constructed using 1,000 solar powered Little Sun lights and stands 11 metres wide and 5 metres tall. The giant solar light poem will illuminate every day at sunset as a poetic beacon of hope for Glasgow.
“We are now at the frightening point where the climate crisis has arrived. I’m thrilled to collaborate with Little Sun and Octopus Energy – this project is a beacon of hope. Instead of looking under the ground for the energy we should have all along been looking up. A solution is visible to us all the time, every day: the sun. There’s great beauty in the realization that the sun is there to save us if we only make the effort to reach out to it. I hope that others across the world will join us to tell the story of solar’s powerful force for good.” Artist Robert Montgomery
After the artwork’s installation in Glasgow (dates 29th October to 12th November) the work will be dismantled. The lights will join Little Sun’s wider efforts to provide clean, affordable solar power to the 600 million people living without electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa, where the nonprofit has brought solar light and energy to over 3 million people to date.
It is located at arts and climate justice pop-up The Landing Hub on the Sustainable Glasgow Landing site. The installation is part of Little Sun’s initiative Reach for the Sun to engage creatives in the global movement to highlight the power of solar to tackle climate change and end energy poverty. It calls for immediate investment in renewable energy on a mass scale and the acceleration of net-zero carbon emissions globally.
“I’ve long been convinced of the power of art and culture to counteract widespread numbness and create change in the world. The climate crisis is here; we know what needs to be done. We have the knowledge and technology necessary to transition within the next decade to a world powered by renewable energy. Yet knowledge may not be enough. A work of art like Grace of the Sun can help us to recognise that our lives are inextricably linked to our surroundings, to structures and systems and people beyond our local context. If we expand our sphere of care to encompass the natural elements that support life as we know it, we can formulate a vision of a positive future for the generations to come.” Olafur Eliasson, Little Sun Co-Founder
The project is enabled by global green energy tech pioneer Octopus Energy Group and supported by Montgomery’s agency MTArt Agency, specialists in sustainable art production, the first certified B Corp®️ UK company within the art sector and a member of the Gallery Climate Coalition.
Octopus Energy launched in 2016 with the vision of using technology to make the green energy revolution affordable whilst transforming the customer experience. The fast-growth company now operates in 12 countries and is valued at over $4.6bn. Montgomery’s studio and home, where the artwork has been constructed over the past months, have both been entirely powered by Octopus Energy since the project’s inception.
“The world’s eyes are on Glasgow and the transition to renewables needs to speed up if we’re going to have a fighting chance of reaching global net zero. Art has the potential to inspire change, and we hope that the powerful words of a local artist can inspire action on a global scale.” Rebecca Dibb-Simkin, Global Director Product & Marketing at Octopus Energy
Although it currently provides only 3 per cent of the world’s power, research suggests that solar can meet the majority of the world’s energy needs by 2040 and is the most powerful means of preventing runaway climate change if implemented now.
“We believe that art can create possibilities for climate action, inspiring global connectivity, promoting positive action and enhancing citizenship engagement. Little Sun’s work with artists helps us imagine a future that we can’t yet fathom – one where all people thrive and share the power of the sun. We’re thrilled to have joined forces with Octopus Energy whose commitment to green energy and support for climate artists fits perfectly with our mission.” Little Sun, which works with partners to deliver renewable energy to communities in sub-Saharan Africa, is investing in its culture program, says Heller, with the goal of “shifting the public’s perspective on the climate crisis—grounding the climate conversation not in fear and despair but in hope and possibility for what we can create together.” John Heller, CEO of Little Sun
Grace of the Sun can be found at The Landing Hub on the Sustainable Glasgow Landing site. Dates 29th October to 12th November 2021. 220 Broomielaw, Glasgow. G1 4RU. Open daily from 9am to 5.30pm and Thursdays-Sundays 6pm-10pm.
Visit www.littlesun.org/reachforthesun to learn more and donate to Little Sun at littlesun.org/donate to enable clean energy access in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Photo credit Philip Volkers