Shepard Fairey, the street artist responsible for Obama’s HOPE poster and OBEY founder, has been in the Paris for the last week, riding out the torrential rain in the 13th arrendissement to create a stunning new mural in advance of his new exhibition Earth Crisis, which opens at the Galerie Itinerrance on Friday 24 June.
Fairey, who suspended a massive, decorative globe (also named Earth Crisis, commissioned by Galerie Itinerrance) from the Eiffel Tower ahead of the COP21 (Conference of Parties) last December, in a bid to “fight apathy,” he told Hypebeast. “I’m not an alarmist, but I do think people need to understand that we are facing an earth crisis.”
The Earth Crisis mural is a mandala (term nowadays used for a diagram, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos (or a greater whole) metaphysically or symbolically), and a continuation of the globe installed last year: each petal motif containing images that depict either threats to nature or incentive to respect it – four calls to action in regards climate change. A breakaway from his signature colour palette (red, cream and black) – the turquoise and other hues of blue, are to serve as a reminder to look after the water, air and vegetation on this planet.
The exhibition itself contains a number of new artworks by Fairey on the theme of ecology: six letterpress prints, paintings on both canvas and paper, reproductions of the globe sculpture, and a book which is available to purchase. The proceeds of the exhibition will be donated to 350.org – the global organization for ecology,
Fairey says, “The facilities, frescoes, paintings and prints are different ways to spread the idea that we are facing a crisis on the scale of the Earth, Earth Crisis. I think that art is a way to awaken people. Art can create conversations where other media fail. If a viewer likes one of my walls, he likes a facility, if he likes my work, maybe he will be called by the message I try to convey. These new works lean and rely on my commitment to the environment since my debut. I wish they visually challenge and initiate the conversation needed about protecting our planet for future generations.”
Another two murals are set to pop up on the streets of Paris during Fairey’s time there, and the exhibition will run from 24 June to 30 July 2016.