As Arctic Sea Ice Reaches 2008 low, Street Art Project Highlights Shared Fate of Polar Bears, HumanityGreenpeace has unveiled a collaborative art project with street artist Mark Jenkins. The venerable eco-org hopes the project, which highlights the shared plight of polar bears and humans in the face of global warming, will help people draw a deep and immediate connection to the reality of the crisis.
To date, four sculptures have been deployed throughout the D.C. area in locations chosen to reach a variety of audiences and address different aspects of the global warming crisis. One bear bore a sign reading "S.O.S.," while another had signs saying: "Victim of Oil Addiction" and "Global Warming Refugee. Help a brother out?"
My intention with this project was to leverage my street installations to promote awareness about the issue of global warming and the plight of the polar bear," said Jenkins. "It was our shared goal that the public would develop empathy for the polar bear as they have for the homeless which we see as two connected issues.
Jenkins, a Washington, D.C.-based artist who creates sculptures primarily from packing tape, has earned international recognition for his street art installations, many of which feature astoundingly realistic human figures. For this series, Greenpeace and Jenkins added polar bear heads and ragged clothing to human figures to convey a sense of displacement and homelessness.
Greenpeace is encouraging people to take action by sending a letter to their senators.
UPDATE: Washington City Paper brings to our attention how global warming ruined one reporter's day: a homeless polar bear of the ilk we told you about earlier was the cause of a bomb scare at a Columbia Heights school north of downtown Washington D.C. Chicago Tribune's national legal correspondent James Oliphant reports on The Swamp that he was summoned to come pick up his 3-year-old becuase of a bomb scare that turned out to be one of artist Mark Jenkins' homeless polar bears foraging through a trash can. Oliphant posted the this photo.