I’m a climate artist trying to understand, portray and live in a more sustainable way within this climate changed world. I’m a very sociable person, I need to discuss issues with others. I have written to and interviewed climate politicians and climate scientists including Sir David King (head of the Climate Crisis Advisory Group). These discussions and debates inform my Climate Art. I’m constantly thinking, creating and doing despite a recent diagnosis of a long-term illness: hyperinsulinemia. Ironically, it was my illness that forced me to give up my teaching day job. Both Covid and coping with daily low blood sugar episodes compelled me to stop, to reflect and to thoroughly investigate Climate Change in a multifaced way. Personally, I had to take stock and greatly change the climate of my thinking and way of life to survive my diagnosis and Climate Change! I now see how everything is interconnected. Nature helped me heal with my illness it also showed me how a rich biodiversity is essential to sustain live and indeed how it performs a role in slowing climate change. The bogs in Clare sequest CO2 and the reeds in our local lake Ballyalla soak up some of the water to prevent bad flooding.
I find it difficult to explain my process so below I have created a visual diagram of the stages I go through. I hope this helps you understand it more fully.
A Visual Model of my Process
Photo of Sparrow hawks an endangered species in Clare. Artist manipulated the photo to illustrate the decline in numbers by a third in the past century. Artist: Evelyn Sorohan 2021
I find that I need to relate Climate change to my own immediate life and environment. I’ve become interested in how Climate Change is visually evident in my local environment. I’m very concerned about the flooding in Ennis, the beautiful trees in my townland of Inchmore that crashed down in Storm Ophelia, the swallows that come earlier to my garage, certain dragonflies and damselflies that are more abundant than ever whilst I no longer see certain butterflies I painted when I was a girl. From the flora and fauna, I understand, feel, see, hear and smell ‘Climate Change’ more fully. This fascination brough me to the National Biodiversity Data Centre Ireland. I signed up to be a citizen scientist with them. I observe, count and track flora and fauna that are indicators of Climate change and send data to them. The emphasis of the Data Centre’s work is tracking change in the wider countryside to complement the work of NPWS on tracking change in e Ireland’s protected species. I also have spent over 150 hours photographing, sketching, painting and digitally manipulating imagery of climate indicators. I will show these images, videos and paintings in an upcoming exhibition in Glor to enable the public in Co Clare make the connection between our biodiversity and Climate Change learning how these insects and plants are indicators of the change. I hope Climate Change becomes more ‘real’ for them. Alongside these images, photos and video of local landscapes affected by Climate Change will be presented in imaginative ways.
A dragonfly in Ballyalla: Photograped by Artist Evelyn Sorohan
My work explores the sound, smell, sight, taste and touch of Climate Change exploring imagery of weather events, flora, fauna and human inventions that relate to it.
A Changed Climate in our Household
For me it’s important I “walk the talk” as much as possible. This is a significant strand of my conceptual and socially engaged art practice. Here is a flavour of ways we have Changed the Climate in our home. We undergo a number of experiments to consume less, waste less, use less energy and find solutions. Some of the change work, others fail. There is a lot we still have to do. For the climate change strategies that have worked for us I find I want to share and show them to the public. To achieve this I will create 4 Climate Maths Simple Equation Installations. These will be created on simple shelves adhered to the walls in the exhibition space. They will visually equate our former products or ways with the sustainable alternative and show how the latter has a lesser carbon footprint. A Written Documentary will accompany each piece for those that are interested in reading about the rationale.
In our home we keep all our plastic packaging for my art creations. I will show 1 week of our plastic waste and the resulting Art work I make from it.
We now grow a quarter of our yearly fruit and veg and buy the rest locally (loose) in contrast to buying in the supermarket where every item is plastic packaged and travels hundreds of airmiles.
We swapped bottles liquid handwash for traditional bars of soaping. 5 bottles = 1 bar.
We no longer buy battery hen eggs. We have 12 of our own free-range hens giving us 12 eggs per day. We supply 6 neighbours with eggs reducing their consumption of battery eggs also.
We leave a sixth of our lawn to grow wild (Show photos of wild lawn area as opposed to manicured area
We grow particular flowers. To date I have offered and 12 neighbours have accepted shoots and roots from these flowers thereby we have made our own patchwork of Black eyed Susan habitats in Kilmaley in Clare!
Black eyed Susan flower in our garden hosting a butterfly. Photographed and manipulated by Evelyn Sorohan