Giving the oceans a voice

PangeaSeed Foundation
United States (Hawaii)

Ever felt inspired to take action after seeing a beautiful piece of art? An international non-profit based in Hawaii is changing behaviours worldwide using art as an advocacy tool for ocean conservation.

 

PangeaSeed Foundation is an organisation working to protect our oceans since 2009. They operate under what they call “the SEA” approach: Science, Education, and Artivism.

“Artivism is this concept that marries art and activism as a tool for advocacy. We are applying that to oceans and the environment. We decided to incorporate art as that driver, and we have been doing that ever since and experimenting in so many ways”, explains Tre’ Packard, the founder and executive director.

The most significant project PangeaSeed Foundation runs is Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans, a groundbreaking public art programme that brings the oceans into the streets around the world. They collaborate with many renowned contemporary artists to create large-scale public murals that address the oceans’ pressing environmental problems. 

PangeaSeed Foundation

“A lot of the issues surrounding the oceans right now can be challenging for the general public to wrap their mind around, but art is an incredible vehicle to translate these issues in a way that engages and inspires positive action,” says Tre’.

The art programme was born in Sri Lanka in 2012. Creative director Aaron Glasson was living and teaching art there. They decided to create a mural within a fishing village to advocate for the sustainability of manta rays, which are heavily overfished throughout the world. It was a light bulb moment where they realised that by harnessing this power of public art, they could engage people in a way that most organisations don’t have the capability to do. 

After the first experience, they tinkered with the idea and launched the programme in 2014 in Mexico, where they completed 15 murals on the small island of Cozumel. One of the supporting artivists for the action was Jet Martínez. “I think art is an important communication tool to talk about ocean conservation and ocean awareness because it gives people an opportunity to create something much deeper on an emotional level,” he explains. “People get attracted to technics, style and colour and eventually come away with a message in a deeper way”.

Since PangeaSeed started the programme, they have created more than 400 ocean advocacy murals in over 17 countries with close to 300 artists. 

“There is no programme like this on the planet”, Tre’ notes. “We are engaging artists from all different backgrounds, all different skill sets. This is an inclusive opportunity for artists to utilise their creativity to give a voice to what they care about”. 

PangeaSeed Foundation

Although the murals are the focal point of the project, during their creation they also organise events that range from beach cleanups to panel discussions with scientists, experts, conservationists or local artists. They also do film screenings and a lot of youth outreach. 

With the help of their growing community of artivists, PangeaSeed continues to bring attention to the plight of the planet’s most important ecosystem, fostering a new breed of conservation through community engagement and empowerment. Don’t miss their astonishing and educational murals. 

PangeaSeed Foundation

AtlasAction: Are you an artist with a passion for the environment and would like to lend your unique, creative voice to the ocean? Contact PangeaSeed to be considered for future Sea Walls projects. You can also be a community organiser. They are looking for individuals passionate about event planning and project management who think Sea Walls would be an excellent programme for their area.

Written by

Chema Sarri (18 June 2021)

    Bio

    Journalist working for organisations promoting peace and sustainability. A travel junkie, originally from Barcelona, he has lived in the UK, Mexico, French Guiana and Japan and has sailed around the world twice.

    Project leader

    Tre' Packard

    Partners

    This project has been selected as part of CultureFutures, a storytelling project that maps creative and cultural projects with a social mission – and the artists, collectives and entrepreneurs behind them.Atlas of the Future is excited to join forces with Goldsmiths Institute of Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship and the British Council Creative Economy.

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