Art activists go to COP27

This November when the United Nations Climate Change Summit (COP27) comes to the Egyptian coastal city of Sharm el-Sheikh, youth from across Africa will be there to make their voices heard. One organization,  Crtve DEVELOPMENT  is helping young artists working on climate justice amplify their voice through the WE!ARE movement.

Photo from Crtve DEVELOPMENT’s Instagram

It began this past summer when WE!ARE put out a call for creative hubs, who would receive funding and training to create a series of workshops, art showcases, and pop-ups throughout Africa. Several hubs were selected, and each of them hosted community activations in the weeks leading up to COP27. 

As Nigeria’s The Guardian recently pointed out, Africa contributes the least of all continents to climate change, yet it’s the most vulnerable. In its article, The Guardian spotlighted the WE!ARE movement, “to build a pan-African voice on climate justice ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Summit.” 

 People affected by flood in Buliisa district Uganda
Floods in Buliisa district Uganda, 2021. Photo by Kikonko on Creative Commons.

Among the selected hubs and organizations was Zimbabwe’s Tamba Africa Social Circus. The organization is a creative advocacy and inclusive arts group, which tells stories through storytelling, transformative theatre, and social circus performances to address social issues affecting young people from marginalized communities. 

30 ARTivists, as Tamba Africa called them, embarked on a 1,800-kilometer trip during October across Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Malawi in what was dubbed “Heal the Earth Caravan of Hope.” Throughout the trip, they hosted a series of events to shine a light on the effects of climate change in Africa, and more specifically, the impacts of floods and cyclones. Events included climate justice workshops and art performances, where works such as Together We Can in Malawi, which helped supported the Tumaini Festival, self-described as one of the biggest gatherings in the country. 

WE!ARE showcases continued throughout Nigeria, Mozambique, Egypt, Zimbabwe, and Malawi over the course of the month leading up to COP27, and will continue for the month of November. Activations have ranged from workshops to train climate activists, to events like the Bariga Photo Festival and a climate change photo exhibition in Lagos, Nigeria. At COP27, WE!ARE will also have a physical and digital installation.

Photo from the Bariga Photo Festival, provided by Crtve DEVELOPMENT
Photo from the Bariga Photo Festival, provided by Crtve DEVELOPMENT

The goal for WE!ARE movement is that African youth’s collective voice will put the continent’s at-risk communities at the focal point of climate justice. As the We!Are says about their movement, it’s “the Africa we want to see”.

Are there other art activists that we should highlight? Leave a comment below, and let us know.👇🏽

Tags: art activists, climate change, cop27

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