Splash and Burn : An Activist Art Campaign, Sumatra 2017

This week sees the release of ‘Splash and Burn’, an environmental campaign addressing the impact of the Palm oil industry through Art, curated by Ernest Zacharevic and coordinated by Charlotte Pyatt.

The title is a play on ‘Slash and Burn’, a technique used to clear patches of land by palm oil producers.  These fires produce thick smog and release toxic greenhouse gases into Singapore and parts of Malaysia and Indonesia.

Ernest Zacharevic became aware of the devastating effects of ‘Slash and Burn’ after the toxic smog produced by Indonesia’s palm oil industry reached his studio in Penang whilst he was working. Throughout the last two years Ernest has been actively researching the issue, visiting and scouting locations and connecting with experts and specialists in the field. Ernest even self produced a limited edition print to raise money for the campaign.

Indonesia is the world’s biggest producer of palm oil and the demand for the commodity has been rising. It is used in a range of products from biscuits, to shampoos, to cosmetics and bio fuels. The surge in demand means that there is need for extra land for palm oil plantations. Palm oil production is concentrated in Indonesia and Malaysia.

Splash and Burn is an awareness campaign responding creatively to unregulated farming practices of Palm Oil in Indonesia. Tackling issues such as the transboundary haze, Deforestation, Human and Animal displacement.

According to WWF Indonesia and Malaysia produce more than 85% of the world’s palm oil and are the only remaining home to orangutans. Fewer than 80,000 of these animals survive today, their habitats under constant threat of deforestation.

Sumatra has lost 85 percent of its forests in the last half-century, primarily due to conversion for palm oil and pulp plantations. Fewer than 3,000 elephants survive on the island, threatened by illegal palm oil production.

The Campaign is collaborating with a number of local and international NGOs including London based charity SOS and Indonesian Based NGO OIC working towards bringing murals/sculptures and interventions have been appearing throughout cities and the vast natural landscape of Sumatra.

Since February, artists have been generously donating their time and creativity to the cause, arriving in secret to execute works. Artists taking part include Ernest Zacharevic Strøk, Isaac Cordal, Gabriel Pitcher, Mark Jenkins, Pixel Pancho Axel Void and Bibichun.

Conflict palm oil is a longstanding controversial issue that receives much media attention in peak moments of crisis, but very little in the months between the burning seasons. With global consumption increasing beyond the need to conserve our impact on our environment and communities, Ernest aims to introduce a new perspective to the conversation on Palm Oil.

Using art as a tool, he suggests bridging the gap between the corruption surrounding the industry and the wider consciousness of the global consumer.

Through a number of unique art projects Splash and Burn offers a creative platform for Organisations and NGOs fighting for positive change. Support the campaign here.



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