The Flowers are Burning: An Art and Climate Justice Exhibition A Collaborative Project by Helen Klebesadel and Mary Kay Neumann
AN ART & CLIMATE JUSTICE EXHIBITION
Mary Kay Neumann and Helen Klebesadel have created a Collaborative Art and Climate Justice Exhibition and Project called The Flowers are Burning. The Exhibition:s “The Flowers are Burning: An Art and Climate Justice Project”was launched as a website and a series of exhibitions in 2015. Additional artworks are added regularly, and a second exhibition, 'Oceans A Rising 'was added in 2020 in recognition of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. The collaborating artists evokeda sense of alarm at the urgent need to address climate change. Its title holds up the vision ofrising from the ashes of a restorative prairie burn.
Artists Mary Kay Neumann and Helen Klebesadel created this traveling exhibition and climate justice project to bring a more accessible lens through which to approach the devastating consequences of our denial of the climate crises. The artists contend that no one person can make all the changes necessary, but each individual can do something, (like voting for climate conscious candidates) to use what power and skills we have to make positive change. Using the beauty of their incandescent watercolors as a source of strength in the face of adversity, they call upon the power of beauty and love to guide us towards taking action to protect what we love and care deeply about.
Our traveling art show of incandescent watercolor paintings that considers the search for beauty and strength that sustains us in the face of adversity. The flowers are metaphors of power found in unexpected places. Unique to their work are their many collaboratively painted watercolors that they co-create and co-paint, passing the paintings back and forth. Exhibitions are a mixture ofindividually and collaboratively created artworks in which the energy of flowers burning with beauty AND power is illuminated.
The website is our gallery of paintings, writings, resources, information and inspiration to add to the growing body of wisdom and knowledge as our planet faces the biggest crises in human history: climate change and the injustices the that extreme weather has wrought. We believe every voice is needed as we face this crises together to take care of our shared beloved home: EARTH. We ask everyone to notice:
What has climate change endangered in nature that you care about? Is there something you love that is in harm's way? What are you willing to do about it?
An exhibition of watercolors focused on the effects of climate change and climate justice on our Oceans
OUR CLIMATE JUSTICE MISSION
WHAT DO YOU LOVE THAT NEEDS PROTECTING?
WHAT ARE YOU MOVED TO DO ABOUT IT?
These are the questions that burn for us. All of the subjects that we paint, we love. Catastrophic wildfires have swept through Australia and California during a record- breaking droughts, killing people and billions of animals. Bees, birds, sea stars along with the Amazon rainforests are fast disappearing along with other species. The Polar Ice is melting, temperatures are rising across the globe, the human traumas of mass migration of is a planetary threat due to these extreme weather changes. These are only a few concrete problems we face today in a world of rapidly changing climate that is largely human created.
How do we respond to the grief we feel without turning away in despair?
"Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life's search for love and wisdom.” -Rumi
All of us have something we love that is in peril in the world. We need clean air, clean water, safe soils, and complex ecosystems in balance that support and sustain life. It doesn't matter what it is you care about most deeply about, or even whether we agree on what to do about the challenges we face. We can all agree that we are in this together and that we all want to save what we love and care deeply about. Think about what you are moved to take action to protect.
At our exhibition, we provide a place for our audience to sit, to ponder, and to write or draw. Blank books are available to record those stories of what people notice are endangered or missing. We ask for ideas about action(s) people want to take in creating a more beautiful world that promotes protecting what they love. We extend an invitation to share resources, websites, and organizations that work towards involving people in everyday activism. We seek to create connections between people, and between what we love and our day to day actions.
In creating this website, we have only begun to capture other efforts, organizations, projects, and events aimed at making positive change. What else would YOU like to see us share? Please send us links and share resources with us so we help others find them, too. We especially seek connections to efforts related to building coalitions aimed at taking actions, small and large, on behalf of the planet and all the creatures that inhabit it.
Most importantly, start or continue to take action in little and big ways everyday to help create a world we can all live in, so those things we care deeply about can still hold their place in the balance of things. Help us grow that flame of hope, fueled by the care for that which we love.
Decide what you love enough to do something to save it.