Linking Art to Sustainability and the Environment

The Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) has begun publicising the fruits of an innovative research project linking arts and the environment. Two years ago, twenty projects were commissioned in nine Asian countries with the hope that carefully documented studies would inspire collaboration and also aid policy making and planning. Reports from these projects are just now being released.

In Bangalore, art activists remapped their local neighbourhood to provide citizens with a voice against a government programme to widen roads and cut trees.

“We realised that many wanted to voice their thoughts on loss of trees,” says Deepak Srinivasan, “but the space that allowed people to speak about the changing city was not available.”

And in northern Thailand, an artist residency programme outside of Chiang Mai is raising awareness about sustainable living. Local and international artists at the ComPeung programme – which means “appropriate remarks” -- live and work together on a rural piece of land, where they are in dialogue with one another and can find inspiration in the area's natural resources and community spaces like the village market.

“Linking the Arts to Environment and Sustainable Development Issues” was initiated by ASEF to explore connections between culture, the arts and pressing environmental issues like climate change.

ComPeung House Building; Photo is courtesy of the ComPeung Initiative, Thailand