Celebrating artists tackling social and environmental issues

For World Creativity and Innovation Day, Impact Hub Network celebrates the influence of human creativity in addressing local challenges, particularly those concerning social and environmental issues. Through mediums such as visual art, design, and architecture, we delve into the intricate beauty of our natural world and confront the impacts of human activity on our environment.


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What would the world be without art and creativity? It is inextricable from the lifeblood of our civilisation. It is infused in every aspect of our existence from the earliest cave paintings to the masterpieces of modern times. Without it, our world would be a desolate landscape, stripped of cultural richness and historical depth. It is through art, creativity, and innovation that we are able to push boundaries, drive progress, challenge norms, and spark new ideas to shape our societies and propel us forward. 


On this World Creativity and Innovation Day, Impact Hub Network celebrates the profound influence of human creativity in addressing local challenges, particularly those concerning social and environmental issues. Art is a potent tool for raising awareness about the pressing matters of our time, inspiring action and fostering change. In this article, we highlight the endeavours of creatives and artists who contribute to these crucial conversations.

Save the planet” AR mask from Inés Longevial. Source: Instagram

Ines Longevial

French artist, Ines Longevial, celebrated for her geometric depictions of women, captivated social media with her innovative augmented reality (AR) filter. This filter, bearing the impactful message “Save the Planet,” serves as a poignant call to action amidst the escalating climate crisis. Through this powerful message, users were not only engaged but also empowered to pledge their commitment to environmental conservation.

Photo courtesy of Andrew Worssam, Aquarium of the Pacific Gyre by Marina DeBris at Sculpture by the Sea.

Marina Debris

Australian-based artist, Marina DeBris, whose unique creations centre around the concept of “trashion,” art constructed from discarded beach trash. By repurposing washed-up debris, she not only raises awareness but also sheds light on the pressing issues of ocean garbage and beach pollution, highlighting humanity’s collective wasteful habits. DeBris employs these materials exactly as she finds them, mirroring the way the ocean delivers them to shore. Through her art, she aims to vividly illustrate the severity of the problem, provoking discomfort to compel individuals to take action and care for our environment.

Recycled foam particles from the upholstery industry sandwiched in plastic mesh via Kamonnart Ongwandee

Kamonnart Ongwandee

A visionary and textile designer hailing from Thailand, Kamonnart Ongwandee is renowned for her commitment to ethical and sustainable practices within the fashion industry. Her work explores fabrics as a means of individual expression and a vehicle for social change. Her textiles are the product of meticulous research and experimentation, reflecting a conscious approach to material selection and production processes. Ongwandee’s designs, infused with textile innovation, serve as powerful artistic statements, shedding light on the pervasive issues of waste and pollution plaguing the fashion sector. She endeavours to revolutionise every facet of the clothing industry, from sourcing to production to consumption, paving the way for a more sustainable and socially responsible future.

Photo courtesy of Oliver Cole Gallery, Metal Cloth, 2023.

El Anatsui

One of the most highly acclaimed artists in African History and foremost contemporary artists in the world. El Anatsui uses resources typically discarded such as liquor bottle caps, cassava graters and newspaper printing plates to create sculpture that defies categorisation. His use of these materials reflects his interest in reuse, transformation, and an intrinsic desire to connect to his continent while transcending the limitations of place. His work interrogates the history of colonialism while drawing connections between consumption, waste, and the environment.

Photo via https://www.studioroosegaarde.net/project/smog-free-tower

Daan Roosegaarde

Dutch artist, Daan Roosegaarde, pioneered a series of “Smog Free Towers,” utilising patented technology to purify the air in urban areas. These towers are not only functional but also  visually arresting symbols, drawing attention to the pressing issue of air pollution while inspiring innovative solutions. Many of his projects merge technology and art to shape urban environments. He also aims to cultivate environmental awareness while adding an aesthetic dimension that complements the technical solutions to environmental problems. Studio Roosegaarde’s diverse portfolio spans from visionary installations addressing sustainable energy to sensor-driven interactive artworks, rooted in the Dutch concept of “Schoonheid” that signifies both beauty and cleanliness in reference to air, water and energy sources. 

Zanele Muholi, Manzi I, West Coast, Cape Town, 2022. Courtesy the artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery.

Zanele Muholi

South African visual activist and photographer, Zanele Muholi, captures the resilience and vibrancy of the LGBTQ+ community through their lens. Their work celebrates the stories of Black queer and trans individuals, challenging societal norms and advocating for visibility amidst discrimination. Muholi’s self-proclaimed mission is to rewrite the visual history of South Africa, highlighting the resistance and existence of queer and trans individuals in the face of hate crimes. Through their powerful imagery, Muholi aims to counteract the stigma attached to queer identity in African society.

Benjamin Von Wong, Giant Plastic Tap, 2021.

Benjamin Von Wong

Chinese-Canadian artist and activist, Benjamin Von Wong is renowned for his awe-inspiring environmental art installations that seamlessly blend photography with everyday objects. His ambitious creations serve as reminders of pressing issues such as plastic pollution and climate change, aiming to raise awareness and inspire action. Beyond the artistry, Von Wong encourages collective engagement and participation by building communities around his installations. He urges his audience to not only witness but to act for change. Some of his previous projects have focused on plastic microfibers released in washing machines, electronic waste, and marine plastic pollution, a testament to his passion for activism through art. 

Photo via https://recyclingtour2023.com/

Manu Delago

Austrian percussionist and composer, Manu Delago, developed an environmentally conscious approach to touring. He and his band embarked on a nearly CO2-neutral journey across Europe by cycling to each venue with their instruments. This initiative aimed to spotlight the significant carbon footprint associated with conventional music tours. Specially designed bicycle trailers transported all musical instruments and equipment for their live performances. Moreover, they utilised solar panels to charge electronics and lighting equipment during the tour. Both the band and crew adopted a vegetarian diet, while audiences were encouraged to use public transport, cycle, or walk to concert venues.

In reflecting on the impact of art and creativity on our world, it becomes evident that they are not mere luxuries but essential components of our collective existence. Through the endeavours of artists like Ines Longevial, Marina DeBris, Kamonnart Ongwandee, El Anatsui, Daan Roosegaarde, Zanele Muholi, Benjamin Von Wong, and Manu Delago, we witness the merging of creativity and activism, inspiring change and fostering a deeper connection to our world. 


Their innovative approaches compel action, urging us to confront the complexities of our time with empathy, ingenuity, and resolve. As stewards of this planet, we are called to harness the power of art and creativity to envision a more sustainable, equitable, and harmonious future for generations to come.

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