Artists for the Earth
Malaysia street artists champion Global Halt campaign
July 30, 2020
On April 22nd, millions of people mobilized for the environment in an online celebration of Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary.
This historic event included the launch of Earth Day Global Halt, a campaign showcasing hundreds of climate-themed urban art pieces from around the world. Using the hashtag #2020halt, the project connected artists from around the globe and encouraged them to envision our future as a warming planet.
This week, we’re highlighting two of the many artists in Malaysia taking action every day for the environment. After all, Earth Day isn’t just a day — it’s a movement.
Born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, street artist and illustrator Cloakwork has traveled the world to share his signature colorful, cartoon-like artwork. He began creating street art while in college.
“I took the train to college and the commute over included the view of the Pasar Seni Wall of Fame,” Cloakwork said. “You could say I was intrigued because there were so many styles of graffiti and the artists used different mediums to illustrate their work, so I picked up graffiti [and] studied the characters and letters, and that somewhat influenced my illustration in college.”
Throughout his career, he has used his art to educate his fellow citizens about protecting the environment. After all, Malaysia suffers from myriad environmental problems, including water scarcity and severe pollution.
Cloakwork’s #2020halt project, Melting, depicts cones stuck to the wall with vibrant paint dripping down like melted ice cream, carrying the message, “Only you can stop global warming!!”
Though his art illustrates that a lot is at stake if we do not act quickly upon climate change, Clockwork remains hopeful for the future.
“A few years ago, the [Malaysian] government introduced a No Straw campaign, [a gradual] No Plastic Bags [initiative] and a car-free Sunday,” he said. “Our government is [also] planning to build more public transport and encourage people to use them [sic].”
Artist Wilsonnws7 was born and raised in Sabah, a state in northern Borneo whose natural beauty has greatly influenced him.
“The environment plays a big role in my work, as it has been a part of my upbringing,” he shared. “I tend to include elements of environmental conservation [in my art], allowing those who are stuck in the concrete jungle to develop the same level of admiration as I do for nature.”
Wilsonnws7’s submission for #2020halt, There is No Plan B, is an urgent call for environmental progress. By contrasting letters made to appear like Earth with lava-like ones, Wilsonnws7 offers a powerful reminder of how cataclysmic climate change could be without preventative action.
“The piece that I submitted depicts a world that is damaged. Anthropogenic climate change in particular is of concern — damaging the planet for the sake of monetary gain. The world has to stop extracting resources and emitting greenhouse gasses at an unsustainable rate, and perhaps realize that the short-term economic gains will be at the expense of future generations,” he explained.
Wilsonnws7 is concerned that the social and economic impacts of COVID-19 will put environmental concerns on the back burner, but he’s not without optimism.
“I am obviously part of the population that cares! I just hope that my work can encourage the youth to take action or at least do what they can in their own little way.”
Art has the power to build an emotional connection with what is happening to our planet. By creating a platform of artists that highlight climate change in their work, EDN’s Artists for the Earth campaign will help build inspiration to act to protect the Earth. Sign up today.
Photo credit for featured photo: Wildlife, by @wilsonnws7 on Instagram.