On the sidelines of a major youth gathering just before the COP27 Climate Change Summit, which opens on Sunday in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, art students from Helwan University held an art exhibition to display art designed from environmental waste.
The student works were shown during the seventeenth edition of the Conference of Youth of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COY 17), which was held November 2 to 4 in the resort city.
The youth conference brought together representatives from around the world to discuss the role of youth in facing climate change and to formulate recommendations to submit to officials participating in the COP27 summit.
Ehab El-Toukhy, a professor of sculpture at Helwan University’s College of Fine Arts and the exhibition’s curator, said his students worked on projects to recycle and use waste and environmentally harmful materials, turning them into artworks.
“We conveyed an artistic and environmental message about our contribution to reduce the effects of climate change in artistic and innovative ways.”Ehab El-Toukhy, a professor of sculpture at Helwan University’s College of Fine Arts and the exhibition’s curator.
“This way, we conveyed an artistic and environmental message about our contribution to reduce the effects of climate change in artistic and innovative ways,” El-Toukhy said.
The message of the students’ artwork, he told Al-Fanar Media, is “to emphasise the possibility of recycling waste and turning it into valuables.”
Plastic Waste and Tree Trunks
About 400 students participated in the exhibition, presenting 45 artworks, which took two years to design. Through these works, students discussed various climate issues, such as the toxic effect of plastic waste on marine life.
The artworks included models made of bicycle tires, water bottles, and plastic bags, besides artworks designed from car waste, machinery, and sawdust.
“Some artworks were designed from abandoned cut-down logs,” El-Toukhy said. “Our students were keen to use these trunks to demonstrate the importance of trees in the ecosystem. Other works aimed at reminding us of extinct animals.”
El-Toukhy has been working on recycling waste for about twelve years. Students are keen to spread environmental awareness, he said. Their participation in COY17 “provided an important message that Egyptian students are able to present exquisite artworks,” he said.
As part of the exhibition, the students organised a workshop called “The Tree of Life” to design a tree from scrap metal. Once the tree was made, each student hung a slip of paper expressing a dream about nature on the tree branches to be transferred to the next youth conference.
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Read more about the COP27 climate summit and efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change in Climate and Environment, an archive of Al-Fanar Media’s reporting on these topics.