COP26: Art exhibitions & activism

With the global climate conference finished, we’re taking stock of everything we witnessed—both inside and outside the gallery—during the events in Glasgow.

Art exhibitions and activism at COP26

4 min read
An illustrated graphic icon by Ed Harrison of a 3 fists being raised in the air in an activist protest.

COP26 is over. There is no doubt a collective sense of exhaustion in the air.

During our time in Glasgow, we experienced two sides: the inside of our exhibition at the Glasgow Print Studio, and the events taking place outside.

On the inside, people from all walks of life gathered to collectively shine a light on extinction, in line with our mission to create prints that protect endangered species around the world. The response from all of you has been overwhelming, so a deep thank you to everyone who made this so special for us.

On the outside, we experienced hope, anger and energy as hundreds of thousands of activists took to the streets with a cry for climate justice and to keep 1.5C alive.

We joined the young activists who marched the streets as part of their ongoing Fridays For Future rallies. We expressed both outrage and optimism alongside the activists and drummers of Extinction Rebellion. We even managed to catch a glimpse of Greta Thunberg amongst the crowd, marching steadily with passion and purpose just a couple of hours before delivering her powerful speech to the world leaders and negotiators of COP26.

Throughout the conference we watched the online negotiations with despair as world leaders (especially from richer polluting nations such as China, USA and the UK) failed to pull out the stops to keep us below 2C warming.

Sure, there are signs of progress, such as promises to end deforestation and the beginning of the end of coal. But the only reason we saw these pledges is because of the passion, grit and determination shown by young activists, indigenous leaders and countries on the climate frontline. We’re deeply grateful to all of those fighting for positive change in the face of such large scale opposition.

On Friday 12th November, the last evening of the conference, we had the honour of hosting singer-songwriter and environmental musician Nick Mulvey at the gallery, where he played an intimate secret gig amongst our endangered species prints.

Whilst playing “In the Anthropocene” members of the small audience were invited to take up their UV torches and explore the collection, shining a light on the endangered species surrounding the gallery walls. There couldn’t have been a more fitting end to this emotionally draining yet memorable and heartwarming event.

COP26 is over. But we are not seeing this as the end. It’s the beginning of something much larger.

From our end, we will go further in our art and activism. We will continue to highlight threats to nature and celebrate wonders of the natural world through the power of design and print, envisaging a better future.

Now is when the real work begins, and we’re excited to have you along for the journey. We’ll see you at our next exhibition—or better yet—on the streets.

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