A Spanish artist uses her giant piece of art, a 40-meter-high mural painted on the side of a building in the Belgian capital Brussels, to ask some questions about climate change and the impact it has on global ecosystems.
“The Alchemist”, Lula Goce’s mural, has been created in collaboration with the United Nations and the non-profit organization Street Art for Mankind (SAM). It is the first in a series of 50 murals to be painted in the next ten years in cities around the world, to promote the ecological restoration of damaged or disappearing ecosystems.
Mother nature protecting her herd
“This mural, the woman, is a metaphor for Mother Nature taking care of the environment and trying to preserve a space for all the animals in the herd,” explains Lula Goce. “She tries to protect him and watches us because we have a responsibility to protect him.”
PNUD / Yuichi Ishida
With the planet’s ecosystems threatened by the effects of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, there has never been a greater urgency to ensure that those ecosystems are revitalized and can recover.
“Scientists tell us that we only have ten more years to take the big step: from exploiting ecosystems to reviving them. We can do it, but it is necessary for the whole of society to take action”, says Veronika Hunt Safrankova, head of the office Brussels of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), adding that “artists can play a key role in spreading the message.”
Bringing the natural world to the city
@superkant for @StreetArtMankind
Born in Galicia (Spain), Lula Goce grew up surrounded by “salty coastal air, barnacles, drizzles and beautiful beaches”, and brings these natural influences to the urban spaces where she works.
“By living in cities, surrounded by cars and buildings, we are losing this connection with the natural world,” says Lula Goce, who has created works of art all over the world, including places as different as Azerbaijan, Mexico and the United States. “We are part of nature and it is up to us to take responsibility for the planet.”
Art favors dialogue
Painting huge works in public spaces causes a direct interaction between the viewer and the mural from the moment the creation process begins, according to the artist herself.
“Art in a studio is for people who like art and who look for it. Here, it is for people who go to work, to throw away the garbage; they don’t expect it.”
The public is also often surprised to see that it is a woman. “I break their stereotypes, the bricks they have in their mind,” he adds.
Generate positive change
@superkant for @StreetArtMankind
The artists who paint these types of murals must be strong both physically and mentally, especially since they often work in changing weather conditions. Lula Goce also has to fight her fear of heights, but affirms that her desire to complete her projects is greater than fear.
When you paint these murals, you feel a great responsibility behind your back because your work will be constantly present in the lives of those who live around you.
“I want them to have a good relationship with art and I try to send a positive message. (In this mural), I present a herd that we have to preserve. Change is possible, if we work together.”