Polar Bear Migrants: The story of how I used art to talk about the climate crisis at COP26
Vincent JF Huang
Written by
30/11/2021

A special art installation at the recently concluded COP26 captured the imagination of delegates and attendees alike. It was life-size polar bears wearing orange life jackets and migrating from the arctic due to melting ice-caps, as a result of climate change. The installation was done by Taiwanese eco artist, Vincent J F Huang, who has […]

A special art installation at the recently concluded COP26 captured the imagination of delegates and attendees alike. It was life-size polar bears wearing orange life jackets and migrating from the arctic due to melting ice-caps, as a result of climate change.

The installation was done by Taiwanese eco artist, Vincent J F Huang, who has been working for years on ‘climate art’ to raise awareness on climate change.

“The reason why I used those cute and poor polar bears and penguins to spread awareness and for more public to care about our climate emergency crisis,” said Vincent, while speaking with Pluc.tv.

Art to save Tuvalu

Vincent is also using his art to save the small south pacific island nation of Tuvalu, which is sinking due to rising sea levels.

“Most people will question, Tuvalu sinking, it’s not my business, it’s not our business. But I would like to emphasise that once Tuvalu submerges, 70% of coastal areas in the world are facing the same crisis,” Vincent said.

And hence Vincent is using any form of installation, painting, sculpture to spread awareness on the plight of Tuvalu and in turn also raise awareness on the rising sea levels which threaten other coastal regions around the world.

The art done by Vincent also got noticed by the Australian government, which has now come to the aid of the natives of Tuvalu.

“It’s very lucky, because after several years of what I am doing to Tuvalu, the Australian government has said that once Tuvalu submerges, they are happy to offer free land for the migration of the entire nation. I think this is the power of art,” Vincent added.

But do the natives of Tuvalu want to migrate? 

Read this story to know more.

“If art can rescue a tiny island nation, it will be a big achievement. My strategy is that through spectacular art, I want to attract public awareness on climate change and climate refugee issues,” he said 

Art for social change

Vincent believes that all artists have the moral and ethical responsibility to use their art to spread awareness on issues like climate change.

“I would like to ask artists to rethink about what their responsibilities are towards global society.  Artists are the only profession which can use creative innovation ideas to build awareness on more crises. Try to find some solution,” Vincent concluded.

Vincent JF Huang
Written by
Vincent J.F. Huang is a Taiwanese eco artist notable for his collaboration with the country of Tuvalu, which is forecast to be the first nation to disappear due to sea level rise, and his selection as the first Taiwanese artist to create a National Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Huang also acted as an official delegate for the country of Tuvalu at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change during the 2012 COP18 session in Doha, Qatar, and caught media attention even earlier due to his guerrilla-style artworks and urban installations in the United Kingdom, Tuvalu, and Europe. Huang works primarily in the medium of visual art, especially sculpture and painting, and uses black humor and allusions to classical Chinese stories and images to contemplate the consequences of human consumption and the dangers of climate change.
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