The art of celebrating Earth Hour, with Freddy Sam and Plascon

The art of celebrating WWF’s Earth Hour, with Freddy Sam and Plascon

Mural by Freddy Sam (aka Ricky Lee Gordon). Photograph by Rowan Pybus.

Mural by Freddy Sam (aka Ricky Lee Gordon), Johannesburg. Photograph by Rowan Pybus.

To raise awareness for WWF’s Earth Hour (23 March 2013), the World Wide Fund for Nature in South Africa (WWF-SA) unveiled larger-than-life artworks in celebration of the world’s largest global mass action for environment.

Mural by Freddy Sam (aka Ricky Lee Gordon), Cape Town. Photograph by Rowan Pybus.

Mural by Freddy Sam (aka Ricky Lee Gordon), Cape Town. Photograph by Rowan Pybus.

The murals were inspired by the WWF theme #WeAreAllConnected. Created in Johannesburg and Cape Town by muralist Freddy Sam (aka Ricky Lee Gordon), the artworks visually highlight humankind’s connection to and dependence on the natural world.

Mural by Freddy Sam (aka Ricky Lee Gordon), Cape Town. Photograph by Rowan Pybus.

Mural by Freddy Sam (aka Ricky Lee Gordon), Cape Town. Photograph by Rowan Pybus.

WWF-SA CEO Dr Mornè du Plessis says, “We are excited by the prospect of visually inspiring people beyond Earth Hour to continue to consider their personal impact on the environment and the part we each play in contributing to the protection of the planet. Our small actions all add up!”

The first inspiring mural was revealed in Maboneng Precinct in Johannesburg. This colourful creation was a product of community participation. A workshop was held, in which local residents and those in the area were asked to draw their interpretations of the message #WeAreAllConnected.

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Workshop participants in Johannesburg with their artworks. Photograph by Rowan Pybus.

Of these creations, art activist Ricky Lee Gordon explains, “Art is a way of reaching into the heart of communities and bringing new messages to the social dynamic. We wanted to inspire an awareness of the natural world in these built urban environments.”

Young workshop participants with their artworks.  Photograph by Rowan Pybus.

Workshop participants in Johannesburg with their artworks. Photograph by Rowan Pybus.

As with the Maboneng mural which started with a community workshop, an open day for community contributions to the Cape Town artwork was also held. In Cape Town, local residents joined in the creative process and expressed their ideas on paper to inspire Gordon. The workshop took place at The Foundry on Albert Road in Woodstock, Cape Town.

Murals by Freddy Sam (aka Ricky Lee Gordon), Cape Town. Photograph by Rowan Pybus.

Murals by Freddy Sam (aka Ricky Lee Gordon), Cape Town. Photograph by Rowan Pybus.

The murals were created using both Plascon Polvin and Plascon Evolution paint, which is a zero VOC, solvent-free and Green Council-approved product generously sponsored by Kansai Plascon. Eazi Access Crane Hire kindly supplied the cranes used in the production of the two pieces.

On the night of Earth Hour, the second mural in the #WeAreAllConnected-inspired series was revealed at a special event in Woodstock in Cape Town that coincided with Earth Hour.

Mural by Freddy Sam (aka Ricky Lee Gordon), Cape Town. Photograph by Rowan Pybus.

Murals by Freddy Sam (aka Ricky Lee Gordon), Cape Town. Photograph by Rowan Pybus.

“For Earth Hour 2013, the idea is to switch off for the hour and switch over to more sustainable ways of living beyond the hour. The mural was created with the desire to leave something behind to remind us all that our actions need to live long after the celebrations!” says du Plessis.

Around the country, a number of other Earth Hour-related events also will take place as individuals, schools, businesses, and community groups show their commitment to the environment.

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