Oxfam has put up a graffiti mural showing three people already struggling in the face of the global climate crisis.
The mural, on the Great Eastern Art Wall in the heart of London’s Shoreditch, is inspired by the millions of people who have taken part in climate strikes across the capital and the world.
It’s made up of of three portraits showing people affected by the climate crisis, and encourages passers-by to learn more on social media channels by searching for #WhoTakesTheHeat.
“We wanted to use this fantastic opportunity to confront people with the stark reality of the climate emergency. This is not just a crisis of the future – real people are already going hungry, losing their homes and being pushed deeper into poverty. We wanted to combine this with a message of hope, inspired by all those who have taken to the streets in the UK and around the world demanding urgent action.” Sarah Watson, Oxfam’s Climate Campaign Manager, said.
Panel One – Ethiopian farmer Mako and her baby
The first panel shows Mako and her young baby Amaal. Mako is a farmer in northern Ethiopia who lost her entire herd of cattle to drought. The dwindling rainfall means she now must walk for two hours to collect water and struggles to feed her family.
Panel two – Lipi and Zeyda up to their chests in floodwater
The second panel shows Lipi and Zeyda up to their chests in floodwater. The two women live on a floating island in Bangladesh’s Jamuna River. Their village regularly floods, but they can’t afford to move to a safer area.
Panel three – Shaud whose home was badly damaged in Cyclone Idai
The third panel shows Shaud, whose home in Zimbabwe was badly damaged in Cyclone Idai earlier this year. Floods washed away most of her family’s belongings and destroyed her entire crop – the family’s only source of income.
Panel four – “The world’s poorest people are being pushed further into poverty and hunger by a climate emergency they did not cause. It’s not too late if we act now.”
Four graffiti artists worked with spray paint and specially-made stencils for four days to create the mural.
The project was curated by innovative Shoreditch-based organisation Global Street Art Agency in partnership with the developers The Stage, a mixed-use development on the site of Shakespeare’s Curtain Theatre, the mural will be live for three weeks.
Oxfam is a global movement of people working for a world without poverty. Among its work around the world, Oxfam helps communities facing extreme weather disasters by providing humanitarian aid as well as tools like emergency food storage, and raised homes and toilets that won’t get damaged during floods. It also supports people to find ways to adapt to a changing climate by doing things like conserving water and planting drought-resistant seeds.
With the UK hosting a major UN climate summit in Glasgow in 2020, Oxfam is launching a campaign to encourage the UK Government to deliver net zero emissions in the UK and to increase funding for communities on the front lines of the climate crisis.
The portraits featured in the mural were taken by: Kieran Doherty (Mako And Amaal, Ethiopia), Gideon Mendel (Lipi and Zeyda, Bangladesh) and Phil Hatcher-Moore (Shaud, Zimbabwe).