Countdown to COP26

Countdown to COP26

3 min read
An illustrated graphic icon by Ed Harrison of a hand wriring with a pencil.
Studio updates

As global leaders head to Glasgow for the UN’s climate summit, we’re getting our heads down in the Under the Skin studio in preparation for our latest exhibition that will shine a spotlight on extinction.

As I sit down to write this blog post, I’m surrounded by a random array of ordinary but essential tools: everything we’ll be using as we prepare to attend one of the most important events of our lives.

Picture frames, masking tape, scalpel blades, steel rulers and various boxes fill the room. Prints we’ve tirelessly worked on are ready to be carefully packed and displayed for public viewing. I sit at the centre of it all – excited, apprehensive and a little jittery from too much coffee. Exhibition preparation is in full swing. The countdown to COP26 – the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference – has begun.

Taking place between 31 October and 12 November, COP26 is widely considered one of the best chances we have to gain some control over the climate emergency. It’s taking place in Glasgow, the city where our small and humble print studio is located.

Naturally, we’ll be there to make our voices heard. But it’s not just our own voices we’ll be demonstrating with. We’re also there to represent the voiceless animals depicted in our artwork, whose future hangs in the balance because of human activity.

Shining a light on extinction has always been our primary goal at Under The Skin. Now, as the spotlight shines on the UK and world leaders head to Glasgow, we’ll exhibit our work with the aim of starting productive discussions about how we can all do more to protect the animals and habitats we share our planet with.

Our exhibition takes place at Glasgow Print Studio. Located in the creative hub of Glasgow City Centre, it’s a stone’s throw from the SEC: COP26’s main venue, where the climate talks are due to take place.

If you’ll be in the city between the 31st October – 27th November, we’d love for you to come to our exhibition, meet us and see our work. Our full collection of endangered animal screenprints will be on display, with the opportunity to learn about each of the species depicted and the growing threats they face.

Because climate change isn’t just about people. Every day, dozens of species go extinct around the world. Climate change is disastrous, but there are countless other threats too. Plastic and other pollutants plague our waters. Vital habitats like rainforests and coral reefs continue to be decimated. And illegal traders hunt, capture and slaughter animals in their millions.

While discussions about slowing the climate emergency are essential, more needs to be done than this, as activist groups like Extinction Rebellion continue to remind the world. Their work and ours will continue long beyond COP26.

For Under The Skin, our mission will remain the same: to celebrate the wonders of the natural world, engage in the importance of biodiversity and educate people on the need to protect our wildlife. Elizabeth Kolbert (author of The Sixth Extinction) puts it best:

"Guilt and fear are less effective call to arms than a love and wonder of the natural world."

— Elizabeth Kolbert

We’re so excited to show Glasgow what we’ve achieved as artists and conservationists so far. Alongside our full collection of handprinted artwork (with UV torches on hand to reveal the hidden phosphorescent skeleton in each print), our short film The Last Vaquita will be available to view throughout the exhibition.

We’ll also be unveiling an ambitious new project, which uses augmented reality to bring our prints to life. It’s something that really has to be experienced first hand, and we can’t wait to show those of you who come along what it’s all about.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and depressed by what’s happening in the world. We’re just two brothers, equipped with basic tools like palette knives, scalpels and inks. The small act of framing a print or illustrating an animal may not seem like much, but the important message behind each artwork is one that we’re determined to share with the world.

Whether you’re attending COP26, joining Greta Thunberg in a local protest or living in Glasgow and want to learn more about our work, come along to our showcase and help us in our goal to shine a spotlight on extinction.

COP26 exhibition details:

Shining a light on extinction

Location: The Glasgow Print Studio

Dates: 31st October – 27th November

Address: 103 Trongate, Glasgow G1 5HD

Opening Hours: 10:30am – 5:30pm

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