CLIMARTE Poster Project Forum: Are images worth a thousand words?

VCA Poster Project artworks 'one good day' by Kate Daw and 'Great Barrier Reef' by Jon Campbell
VCA Poster Project artworks 'one good day' by Kate Daw and 'Great Barrier Reef' by Jon Campbell

CLIMARTE and the University of Melbourne's Carlton Connect Initiative have hosted a forum on the role and effectiveness of visual media in communicating matters of environmental and social importance.

Speakers included Associate Professor Peter Christoff, lecturer and researcher in climate policy at the University of Melbourne, Belinda Smith, Deputy News Editor for COSMOS Magazine and Poster Project artists Gabrielle De Vietri, A Centre for Everything and Dr Kate Daw, Head of Painting, School of Art, Victorian College of the Arts (VCA).

Associate Professor Peter Christoff said that despite storms, droughts and fires, we are sleepwalking into a climate emergency.

"Powerful pictures have the capacity to wake us up. They can confront us with astonishing and occasionally uncomfortable possibilities," he said.

VCA CLIMARTE Poster Project artist Dr Kate Daw said thinking about the overall environmental global situation could be overwhelming, inducing a sense of inertia and paralysis.

"I wanted to bring my work to a place of hope and also reference the simultaneous everyday and miraculous aspect of a daily natural event, in this case, the sun setting at the end of an ordinary working day," Dr Daw said.

"One Good Day speaks both to the future and the past and reminds us of what we take for granted."

CLIMARTE CEO and co-founder Guy Abrahams said the CLIMARTE Poster Project was about provoking public dialogue and influencing public and political opinion by creating the empathy needed to bridge the gap between knowledge and action.

"CLIMARTE has commissioned eleven Australian artists to design posters that engage the community on climate change action, and convey the strength, optimism, and urgency we need to move to a clean, renewable energy future," Mr Abrahams said.

"Each artist has imagined a completely different way to convey their feelings about these issues and yet they all point to the necessity and benefits of transforming our economy and lifestyle from one based on fossil fuels to one based on renewable energy."

Members of the public are invited to engage with the Poster Project by capturing in-situ photographs of the posters and sharing them through social media channels using the hashtag #climarteposter.

In addition to the hundreds of posters plastered on the streets of Melbourne, an exhibition of the posters is being held at CCI's LAB-14 Gallery until 28 May.