There is a simmering discontent in me, living in a stratified world that is systematically unjust for the many, and superfluously accommodating for the few. The crisis of climatic change exemplifies this system in action, creating suffering for the masses while enriching the minority. Painting is my method of articulating my primary response to that reality: anger.
Two Degrees Warmer takes aim at those who do harm to the world, channels the ire into meaning via beauty, and attempts to hoist those who have been repressed. The leaders of the world, official or de facto, are driving the planet beyond the precipice of irreversible damage: a global average temperature increase beyond two degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels.
Environmentalism was my gateway to activism, and feminism my stepping stone to recognizing innumerable other injustices. This series fuses the two, placing focus on a lone female figure who bears the marks of climate change, personified as physical injury or disability. Thus, the figure anthropomorphizes Earth itself. In one painting, oil gushes from a woman’s abdomen through an inflamed colostomy, analogous to a rig surgically pulling crude from the bowels of the Earth. This imagery comes directly from my near-decade as an ICU nurse.
Women may bring to mind gendered archetypes of motherhood or spiritual connections to Mother Earth, but another parallel exists – like the planet, women have little authority over global decisions. Two Degrees Warmer conveys how male-dominated power structures exploit women, but centers femmes as the sole narrators of this tale.