A Visual Dialogue on Environmental Issues

The Long Island Explorium, in partnership with Stony Brook University Visual Arts students, presents: A Visual Dialogue on Environmental Issues.

How This Exhibit Came to Be:
This digital art project will reflect the collaboration between Lecturer Qin Han’s digital art courses at Stony Brook University and Long Island Explorium, focusing on the balance of local community needs fueled with artistic insight on environmental justice. Supported by the Museum Association of New York (MANY). 

This exhibition was curated with the intent to not only display powerful visual statements but also to spur dialogue between varied audiences and to open doors to social, economic, and environmental justice. Together, it shows a belief that artists and curators can effectively represent, interpret and spur dialogue on the environmental issues that impact the most vulnerable in our communities.

We encouraged innovative multi-disciplinary artistic exploration by individual artists that expressed how the arts and new media can propose solutions to environmental issues and create alternatives that support sustainability and climate justice, fostering cooperation and an exchange of ideas. 

To view our Press Release for a Visual Dialogue here.

Come view our curated exhibit showcasing these student artists fantastic work.

Featured Artists & Statements

Komal Grewal

For my poster about the effects of climate change, I wanted to highlight the demographic groups that have been and will be most negatively impacted by climate change, despite many practices that lead to climate change being carried out by starkly different demographic groups. Without question, younger generations will be increasingly more affected by climate change if inaction persists. For the young people of the world, this issue is not something they can put on the back burner as previous generations have done. It will be their reality for most of their lives and directly impacts their future. Communities of color are also disproportionately impacted by climate change. For a number of economic and socio-political reasons, countries in the global south—which are largely inhabited by people of color—face the most repercussions of centuries of environmentally destructive behavior from western countries. To visually showcase all of this in my poster, I chose to depict a dark, dirty, and polluted Earth being handed down by an adult hand to a child’s hand that is reaching up in an attempt to grasp the Earth.

Jaeni Lee

100 Seconds to Midnight
Currently, much of the plastic that is being recycled in the United States is not actually being recycled but being sent to less fortunate countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand, where these people are forced to live surrounded by our garbage. In order to bring awareness to this issue, I wanted to incorporate something that we see in our everyday lives but don’t think much about: a plastic bag. The classic plastic grocery bag has a yellow smiley face which I wanted to utilize to employ a bit of sarcasm into the poster. The bag is smiling but this is not a situation in which anyone should be smiling in. I also incorporated the commercial from the 1960s to the 1980s which asks parents if they know where their children are late at night. I felt that it was a good way to show the time of the Doomsday Clock and show how close we are to a crisis yet no one really knows the details about what is or what isn’t being done to help. The answer to the question is located at the bottom of the poster upside-down, reminiscent of plastic candy wrappers that contain jokes and their answers in a similar fashion. This also intrigues the viewer of the poster and makes them look at the poster for longer.

Ivan Vuong

Under the Rug
Under the Rug takes the idiom, “sweep it under the rug”, and replaces the figurative rug with an iceberg. As a result, it also refers to another idiom, “tip of the iceberg.” The newspapers clinging to the bottom of the iceberg representing the shelving of headlines and the subsequent loss of information to the public view, where, here, the mechanisms and nature of sea-level rise have been hidden; the blue gradient serves to create a sense of depth. On the surface, factories and smoke plumes were painted in–the antithesis of the submerged headlines–destroying the very iceberg they sit on.

Andrew Young

Finding Angeleno
Finding Angeleno exhibits the effects of ocean acidification on marine creatures. With global warming, the quantity of carbon dioxide absorbed back into the sea increases, thus increasing pH. When pH levels drop, marine creatures may begin to disintegrate. Signs of global warming were shown as yellow sun rays; ocean acidification was shown by the changing colors of the water; effects of ocean acidification on marine life were shown with Angeleno swimming slower with fewer bubbles and decaying. Multiple layers of pixel art alternate to portray movement along with tweening frames.

Kristin Cimmerer

Single Use
The main concept of my poster, Single Use, is that by choosing to purchase single-use plastics, you are choosing to endanger the life of an animal in the ocean, and in turn threatening the livelihood of those that depend on fish as a source of food. Single-use plastics, although convenient and seemingly harmless, in actuality are among the largest contributors to detrimental environmental issues, such as ocean pollution and food security.

Pei Xin Jiang

The collage is inspired by the artist Olafur Eliasson. Olafur Eliasson creates artworks that spread awareness of climate change. Climate change influenced not only the natural environment but also humans. In certain places, people depend on agriculture for food and survival. As issues from climate change rise, certain vulnerable areas experience more droughts or floods. Climate change also causes pollutants that affect the waters, which could be harmful to human health. The collage shows the harmful effects of climate change. It shows the before and after of the environment and how humans can be affected.

Benjamin Azua

Rain, Rain, Came Today
For this piece, which I have named Rain, Rain, Came Today, I wanted to show an unfortunately familiar sight in many areas heavily populated with people of color after natural events like flooding from heavy rains and hurricanes. I wanted it in more of a storybook illustration style to show how the children of the community are constantly forgotten about in terms of being equipped to deal with these natural disasters, often left to fend for themselves as the state often forgets these communities.

Honorable Mentions

Alyssa Ortega

Alyssa is a mixed media artist. In this work, she does a digital poster based on the concept of forest fires being intentionally made in the amazon forest. The forest is considered to be the “lungs of the earth” and makes up 20% of the oxygen we breathe. Another event that is harmful is the indigenous people that live in the forest are having their communities and sacred lands destroyed, also putting these indigenous people at risk of being poisoned and killed for their land.

Kristen Reese

The concept for this Long Island Postcard is to share the suffering and reality that our environment is enduring. Postcards symbolize hot spot locations, places where people all around the world should stop at. In this case, this postcard's message is to stop ignoring the ‘perfect’ and become aware of the major environmental issues surrounding you. Postcards inspired me as they only spread the good and the excitement of one specific location. With the use of art, I am able to change these ideas, and capture peoples’ attention for another reason. Hoping to shock people into reality, while bringing awareness and acceptance to all.

Amber Li

For this theme of environmental justice, my idea is to combine Central Park and the landfill because this is the center of Manhattan and also the most unlikely location for a landfill. I hope this poster can remind those who ignore the environmental pollution they cause to others. What if environmental hazards were all around you, affecting your life and health? Would people still be generating unnecessary garbage at will?

Judy Liu

The digital painting and collage, Waste, exhibits pollution’s harmful impacts on aquatic environments. This piece was inspired by the colors and techniques of Monet’s Water Lilies. Water bottles made using image masking replace the lilies to convey the impact of the pollution. Greens, pinks, purples, and yellows, which are colors of lilies, are used for the bottles’ coloring which emphasizes on how plastic is taking over the environment. The vibrant colors of the water were inspired by John Sabraw’s toxic waste paintings. Blending the toxic water with the bottles expresses the pollution’s disastrous effects on nature.

Aaron Li

Heat Waves
Heat Waves talks about the topic of heat and how it disproportionally affects less affluent communities. The rising temperatures due to global warming are life-threatening to those who live in such neighborhoods.