On 22 April 1970, the world marked the first Earth Day. People came together to celebrate and raise awareness about the importance of protecting the planet. This year marks the 50th anniversary. At a time of social distancing, Aesthetica selects a range of online activities and events that can be accessed whilst staying at home – including virtual tours and creative challenges.
Serpentine Galleries’ multi-year Back to Earth programme invites over 60 artists, architects, poets, filmmakers, scientists, designers and thinkers to respond to the climate crisis. Launching on Earth Day, Olafur Eliasson’s new participatory work, Earth Perspectives, looks at the planet from a variety of viewpoints – including those of plants, animals, and nature. He explains: “I want to advocate – as on any other day – that we recognise these various perspectives and, together, celebrate their co-existence.”
WWF is inviting people to make artworks demonstrating a passion for nature. The challenge offers a creative outlet and a space for expression – inspiring those who are staying at home to make something new. Each day of the week presents a new theme: from One Planet to Oceans and Forests. Aiming to create a virtual community at a time of social distancing, the campaign is taking place across Instagram and Facebook — using the hashtag #ArtForEarth. WWF will highlight selected works across their platforms.
“We came all this way to explore the Moon, and the most important thing is that we discovered the Earth.” – Bill Anders’ iconic Earthrise, featured above, is believed to have inspired the modern environmental protection movement – and the first Earth Day. For the 50th anniversary, NASA has collated an Earth Day Toolkit – bringing together books, apps, videos, images, art and interactive activities. Astronauts talk about our planet from space. Podcasts delve into global changes. Satellite views document weather patterns.
Somerset House presents a range of free interactive events online, exploring how art and culture can inspire positive action in relation to the current ecological crisis. Award-winning inclusive fashion designer Bethany Williams presents a series of digital DIY workshops focused on sustainability and social responsibility – inviting audiences to think about the impact of their actions on future generations. Inspiring live talks from innovative designers look towards a new wave of ethical companies.
From Colombian rainforests to jungles in Japan, olive orchards in Israel to Scandinavian woods, Among the Trees is an immersive journey into the world’s forests. At a time when around 36 football fields’ worth of trees are lost every minute, it offers an important message. “The work of leading international artists urges us to think about the essential roles that trees and forests play in our lives,” notes Director Ralph Rugoff. Featured here is Myoung Ho Lee, who positions large canvases behind trees – questioning ideas of artifice.
Lead image: Olafur Eliasson, The Weather Project, 2003. Monofrequency lights, projection foil, haze machines, mirror foil, aluminium, scaffolding 26.7 x 22.3 x 155.44 m. Installation view: Tate Modern, London, 2003. Photo: Andrew Dunkley & Marcus Leith Courtesy of the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles © 2003 Olafur Eliasson.
1. Earthrise by Apollo 8 astronaut William Anders, December 1968. Earth at gibbous phase as seen from the Moon.Credits: NASA.
2. Myoung Ho Lee, Tree… #2, 2012. Ink on Paper. 104 x 152 cm © the artist 2020. Courtesy Myoung Ho Lee and Gallery Hyundai.