Seed Angel: Art and Activism
By Talia Erlich
I’ve been working for the environment using art for two decades now, and I often design interactive installations or events (such as the Toronto Tree Festival) to ‘seed’ ecological consciousness or ‘bloom’ a green organization.
My ‘SEED ANGEL’ performance piece for Vandana Shivawas a call to visually represent and to honour the international green hero.
I first heard of Vandana Shiva through my work with Seeds of Diversity Canada (stay tuned for a blog post from its director!). I learned to appreciate the value of the ‘small stuff’ and people like Dr. Shiva who have been on the deck of a modern day Noah’s Ark story.
Until recently, only a few thousand people here in Canada understood the threat to food security, amongst other things, and have been heroically saving heirloom and rare seeds. They have effectively been a living gene bank for the rest of us.
Maintaining the right to save and share seeds has also been an ongoing struggle as agri-business and genetically modified technologies vie for market share and patents around the world. Advocates from across the environmental spectrum recognize the value and dangers if the people lose this basic right.
For a long while I’d been dreaming of a contemporary version of the ancient rite of seed sowing, so this was an opportunity to try a small gesture and also thank one of the giants of the seed-saving world. Dr. Shiva jumped right in and added a prayer from India that is recited when seed is sown: ‘May the seed be exhaustless’.
In her subsequent lecture at OCAD (Ontario College of Art and Design), she commented about the importance of cultural forms in sync with ecological action, and I felt affirmed that art can weave strong threads in the fabric of sustainability.
I welcome collaboration and the inspirations of others on creating these new forms.
Has Talia planted a seed of interest in you? Do you want to share your creative spirit with others and change the world with your art? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her blog, Tali’s Green Log. For more ideas on how to join Vadana Shiva in action and to sow seeds in your community, visit our campaign page!
Remember – in the battle to save the planet, you can plant the first seed: Share your story of how you’re planting seeds for change in your community, by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero! Contest details and more information can be found here.