White Canvas #14 CRIS About the COP28 UAE EXHIBITION - Art and Nature: An Ancestral Link


The World Climate Conference (COP28) is the most important event on the global agenda of governments, NGOs and civil societies in the search for a response-solution to the planetary changes caused by global warming and the degradation of nature. In 2023, from November 30 to December 12, the COP28 UAE summit was held in the cosmopolitan city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, attended by world leaders and representatives from more than 150 countries to share, propose and debate the advances, setbacks and challenges that humanity faces to comply with the Paris Agreements on energy transition, mitigation of the effect of greenhouse gases and care for the planet. In this context, the SDG`s - Sustainable Development Goals, known as Agenda 2030, encompass 17 goals that contribute to compliance with international agreements and conventions on climate change. The question that arises then is: What is the contribution that art and artists can make to this crossroads that affects societies around the world?

art24 artists at the World Climate Conference

One of the possible responses: to become a voice that, through demonstrations and artistic creations, takes into account the fragility, vulnerability and sensitivity of nature to the intervention of human beings. This idea mobilizes thousands of artists in different latitudes and, on this occasion, an initiative of the ZeeArts Gallery of Dubai directed by the curator-artist Zaahira Muthy called for artists from Switzerland to be part of the "SDG´s Through Arts Switzerland" project that created works linked to the 17 objectives of the 2030 agenda. The exhibition includes 5 artists from art24 and was exhibited at the Atelier Mondiale in Basel in the month of June and then moved to Dubai to be on display during COP28 in the exclusive Blue Zone where leaders, observers and global leaders met.

In this article, written directly from Dubai by Cris, we present the works and commitment of the 5 art24 artists to caring for the planet we inhabit through their art: Silvia Salvagno, Judith Roesli, Kamila Hlobil, Madeleine Farhounmand and Cris.


Fig. 1: The Artists of art24 at the Ceremony Awards in the COP28 UAE. Photo Credit: ©CRIS / Dubai, December, 2023.


Fig. 2: Kamila and Cris, artists of art24 at the COP28 UAE / Dubai, December 2023.


Fig 3: Voice for Action Conference: Climate Migration and Art & Book Presentation by Cris, International Analist, Artist and Writer of art24 at COP28 UAE / Dubai, December 2023.


SILVIA SALVAGNO – «No Water, No Nife. No Green, No Blue»

The title of this piece is drawn from a famous quote by ocean researcher Dr. Sylvia Earle (*). Her concise and direct words convey the relationship between the fate of the great bodies of water, and that of land and human life: “Healthy oceans and seas are essential to our existence. They cover 70 percent of our planet and we rely on them for food, energy and water. Yet, we have managed to do tremendous damage to these precious resources. We must protect them by eliminating pollution and overfishing and immediately start to responsibly manage and protect all marine life around the world.” (globalgoals.com) This piece is painted on natural linen, allowing us to see the weft of the fabric as a metaphor for the weft of life itself. The interwoven threads reflect the connection between living creatures and nature. This material also makes us think about how fragile each thread of that weft is by itself, but how strong and beautiful it becomes once it is connected to others in harmonic fusion. I used sand and salt water which I collected in my travels to blend watercolours, inks and pigments, creating an organic composition to render the beauty of our oceans and coral reefs. It is my hope, that this artwork can inspire the viewer not only to connect with the richness and beauty of the marine ecosystems, but also to take action toward the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, sea and marine resources.


KAMILA HLOBIL – «Zero Hunger»

Despite its prevalence across the globe, hunger is not only a threat to individuals, but also a problem for society, which poses a moral and societal issue as basic needs, like the right to adequate nutrition, are still not fully met. There is no doubt that the fact that people are suffering from a lack that industrial society is either not experiencing or unaffected by, is that fact we must not ignore.
As part of my contribution to the SDGs through arts Zero hunger, I not only aim to make a positive impact on goal no.2 of the SDG but the artwork also reflects the impact on the environment. In order to achieve one goal at a time, we need to have a holistic approach that is capable of sustaining, developing, and supporting one another when it comes to our goals and objectives.
The world needs to understand the complexity and seriousness of global problems and the need for a sustainable system transformation at the most important levels without involving egoistic goals of individuals, even if it costs them time, effort, and struggle.


JUDITH ROESLI – «No Poverty»

The lively interplay of recognisability and abstraction is of prime importance and give the works an exceptional character and should make the viewer linger. The artistic implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal Number 1 - Poverty was challenging. The presentation should be sensitive but also clearly show the misery. The inspiration, equal rights to education, and thus to work showed me the relationship between rich and poor. It is of essential substance that investing in people experiencing poverty should not only be seen as an act of sympathy and philanthropy but will lead to a more valuable society for all its members. My symbolic representation shows wealth in the upper third of the picture. The centre of the painting demonstrates destitution. Finally, the most beautiful part at the bottom lets us see the ensemble playing.


MADELEINE FARDHOUMAND – «The Falcon and the Snake»

«The Falcon and the Snake» capturing the essence of UN SDG #13. My painting representing the SDG N° 13 on climate change: «Climate change is like death. It is a reality but we don't want to face it». Climate Change, a kin to death, is an undeniable reality we often avoid confronting. In my masterpiece artwork, 'The Falcon and the Snake,' the symbolism is profound. The falcon, representing our freedom of choice, grapples with the consequences of climate change. One wing ablaze signifies the impact of our actions, while the frozen wing embodies the urgency to make a change. The fierce battle with a snake made of polluting elements like plastic, cigarettes, and aluminum illustrates our ongoing struggle against pollution. Through this artwork, I implore viewers to recognize the power of their choices in combating climate change.


CRIS – «Unity»

On the basis of time and space the life of the universe develops. A smooth natural movement slides the grains of the hourglass of history between the extremes of existence in a constant search for balance. Past and future, right and left hemisphere, North-South and East-West. The chain of life, fragile and infinite, seeks its next link. A code, a guide and a ladder of actions that lead to human, natural and artificial integration that restore the lost balance. Nature and technology, virtual and real world, artificial intelligence and human, society and planet earth.

The children of tomorrow look at the present with hope, from a future that still appears diffuse and incomplete, their dreams extend their arms towards the present. Science and religion. Brain and heart. Reason and intuition. Between wars, poverty, inequality, crises, migration, extinction, climate change and natural disasters, human beings write the present between brilliant inventions and new technologies, based on the mistakes and successes of the past.

Since time immemorial, all cultures and civilizations have written codes to live in community, harmony and unity with the planet. The SDGs seem to reflect the voice of today, the warning of the future. A voice that speaks to us in silence and resonates with each passing minute. A voice that seems to speak on behalf of nature and future generations. The time of regeneration, transformation and integration has arrived. The voice of nature is the new and only guide, towards the conservation, preservation and revitalization of the biodiversity of flora, fauna and all human cultures that inhabit the earth. United, integrated and humble before the immeasurable immensity of life that evolves and circulates at every moment like the sap, the water and the gold in our DNA.


ART, NATURE, ARTISTS & COLOURS: Interconnectivity

As a reflection, it is important to note that COP28, like many global efforts to coordinate actions between nations, are involved in controversies, such as the fact that the Summit is held in the United Arab Emirates, one of the main producers and exporters of fossil fuels in the world, added also to the harsh reality that on numerous occasions the summits do not meet the goals established or the commitments assumed by the countries. However, the link between nature and art, between the planet and artists, has been present since the beginning of human culture. Nature inspires us to create art and art creates new ways to connect with nature. From architecture, painting, sculpture, music, dance or literature, art reflects the movements of nature and nature is projected through humankind, since humankind is part of the planet we inhabit.

From dyes with natural pigments from antiquity to the Renaissance, to artificial intelligence or skyscrapers like the Burj Khalifa with its 888 meters in height that make it the tallest in the world, art and nature have an ancient link in constant transformative change. The works of our artists are a testimony of our time, a time with disturbing challenges that drives us to unite, transcend borders and find the paths to a sustainable, clean and green planet.

Green, blue and light blue are the colours of our planet seen from outer space. Red, orange and yellow are the colours of the land we walk on. The violet of flowers, corals and electricity. All the colours present in the works of our artists came together to radiate a common message of valuing, protecting and caring for the planet we inhabit in the emblematic Blue Zone of the COP28 UAE. The artworks remind us once again that art and nature have an unbreakable ancient bond that inspired the great masters of humanity and also inspires new generations of artists around the world to contemplate the aesthetic, pristine beauty, subtle, fragile and immeasurable of the nature that inhabits and inhabits us.


Fig. 4,5,6,7 and 8: Artworks by Silvia Salvagno, Judith Roesli, Kamila Hlobil, Madeleine Farhounmand and Cris artists from art24 at the Blue Zone COP28 UAE / Dubai, December 2023.


Fig. 9,10 and 11: Paintings of Silvia Salvagno, Judith Roesli, Kamila Hlobil, Madeleine Farhounmand and Cris artists from art24 at the Blue Zone COP28 UAE / Dubai, December 2023.


Text by Cris

Immigration and Intercultural Mediation Specialist

Bachelor of International Relations

Writer and Artist