Argentinean art contest brings environmental issues to light

An innovative art contest in the small city of San Rafael in the province of Mendoza, Argentina has reached the environmental consciousness of citizens throughout Argentina and brought worldwide attention to local environmental issues. What started out as an art contest in several schools in San Rafael and rural areas has now become a successful art exhibition at the Buenos Aires Centro Cultural Borges from April 24 to May 11, 2008 (see images below). Part of the success can be attributed to famous personalities in the environmental sector who worked closely with the art students in developing these works of art such as famous visual artist and environmentalist Nicolas Garcia Uriburu or environmental documentalist Juan Schroder. The art contest was the product of a synergy created by Green Cross Argentina in a multistakeholder approach by bringing together famous environmentalists, local authorities, schools, local NGO Multisectorial del Sur and the Foundation Valentin Bianchi.

In the city of San Rafael, this recent emergence of contemporary art related to the environment can be traced to the local environmental concerns experienced by the local inhabitants. This small province at the foot of the Andes is an important center for the mining industry and uranium extraction, which potentially can have adverse affects on water resources in the region and subsequently affect agriculture or the quality of life of local inhabitants. Inhabitants of San Rafael hope that through widespread awareness in Argentina, particularly Buenos Aires, the impacts of resource exploitation will be kept under control and companies will exercise surveillance on environmental impact and best practices.
Green Cross Argentina and the collaborators of the art contest found this campaign a great opportunity to inform the general public in Argentina and abroad. In the words of Marisa Arienza, President of Green Cross Argentina: “a school contest was a chance for adolescents to draw and paint messages about their environment, their concerns and hopes for the future and was clearly adapted to the spirit of the region”. Today, the successful art exhibition in Buenos Aires is an example of how a local activity could impact the general public and push for change.
For more information please contact Marisa Arienza , President of Green Cross Argentina:
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