Brussels fresco seeks to trigger climate action

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In the streets of Brussels, Spanish artist Lula Goce sparks climate dialogue with his giant new artwork ‘The Alchemist’, created in collaboration with the United Nations and a non-profit organization Street art for humanity (SAT). The 40-meter-high work of art, painted on the side of a brick building on Avenue Louise in the Belgian capital, is the first in a series of 50 “Ecosystem Restoration” murals which will be created over the next 10 years in cities across the globe.

The artwork is part of the United Nations Decade for Ecosystem Restoration, a global effort led by United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to stop climate change and restore ecosystems by 2030.

Mother Nature protects her flock

“This mural, this lady, is a metaphor for Mother Nature taking care of the environment and trying to preserve space for all the animals in the herd. She tries to protect him and looks at us because we have a responsibility to protect him, ” says Lula Goce in an interview with UNRIC.

With our planet’s ecosystems facing threats from climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, it has never been more urgent to revive them.

“Scientists tell us that we have only ten years to go from exploiting ecosystems to restoring them. It can be done – but #GenerationRestoration needs the support of all of society. Artists play a central role in spreading the message, ”says Veronika Hunt Safrankova, head of the UNEP office in Brussels.

Spanish artist Lula Goce in Brussels as she works on her work ‘The Alchemist’ © @ superkant for @StreetArtMankind

Bring nature into urban spaces

Born in Galicia, Spain, Lula Goce grew up surrounded by “salty coastal air, barnacles, drizzle and beautiful beaches”, and she brings these natural influences to the urban spaces where she works.

“By living in cities, surrounded by cars and buildings, we lose this connection with the natural world,” says Lula Goce, who has created works of art across the world, including in Azerbaijan, Mexico and the States. -United. “We are part of nature, and it is up to us to be responsible with the planet.”

Art sparks dialogue

Painting such large works in public spaces triggers a direct interaction between the viewer and the mural from the moment Lula Goce begins painting.

“Art in the studio is for people who love art and are looking for art. Here, it’s for people who go to work, take out the trash; they don’t expect it.

Lula Goce painting her fresco 'The Alchemist' in Brussels © @ superkant for @StreetArtMankind
Lula Goce painting her fresco ‘The Alchemist’ in Brussels © @ superkant for @StreetArtMankind

Members of the public are also often surprised to see that she is female. “I am breaking their stereotypes, the bricks they have in their heads,” she adds.

Create positive change

Artists who paint such murals need to be both physically and mentally strong, especially since they often work in changing weather conditions. For Lula Goce, she must also struggle with vertigo, but says that her will to carry out her projects is greater than her fear.

When creating such murals, Lula Goce says that she feels a tremendous burden of responsibility, because the work of art will be constantly present in the lives of those who live around her.

“I want them to have a good relationship with art and I try to send a positive message. (In this mural) I present a flock that we must preserve. Change is possible, if we work together. ”

This fresco was produced with the support of the United Nations Regional Information Center in Brussels (UNRIC), the City of brussels and Street Art Route. It was made possible by Solvay, member of the United Nations Global Compact.

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