a b o u t

c l o r o p h i l a * (art + sustainability) is a repository of images of art work that traces a search for sustainable practices in the visual arts.

All of the images posted at c l o r o p h i l a * has been collected from around the internet by Sueli Ferreira Lima [Fortin]**. They are either part of the public domain or owned and © by the respective holders. They are presented here for educational and non-commercial purposes within the “fair use” terms of US Code: Title 17, Sec. 107. If required, images can be removed by the artist upon request by email.

(art + sustainability)

As the need for “sustainable development” has become undeniably indispensable, we are witnessing changes in all fields of knowledge, including the visual arts. Reflecting these changes, we are noticing a myriad of jargon referring to art work that deals with environment issues, whether, because of the choice of materials, the subject of the work, the inclusion of member of communities in the art process, etc. And so, we find art work being tagged as “green art”, “eco art”, “ecological art”, “environmental art”, “ecoventions”, and other less common terms.

Although, a closer linguistic examination could define different degrees of appropriateness linking these terms to environmental issues, all of them should at least carry the concept of “sustainable development” at their essence, because “sustainable development” is the concept that ties together concerns for the carrying capacity of natural systems with the social challenges faced by humanity now a day. As early as the 1970s, “sustainability” was employed to describe an economy “in equilibrium with basic ecological support systems.”[1] Ecologists have pointed to The Limits to Growth,[2] and presented the alternative of a “steady state economy”[3] in order to address environmental concerns.

If “sustainability” is a concept that is essential to any jargon that addresses environmental concerns, then, the term “sustainable art” encompasses all art work that expresses concerns for the environment, whether it is being called “green art”, “eco art”, “ecological art”, “environmental art”, “ecoventions”, or other less common terms.

Sustainable art is art produced in harmony with the regenerative ability of the planet’s ecosystems. It describes an artistic process that is immersed with the need for the long-term maintenance of responsibility for the environment as a whole unit and made of different parts that are intrinsically interconnected and interdependent. This means that sustainable art reflects care for key principles of sustainability:

__environmental soundness

__economical feasibility

__social justice

Sustainable art also encompasses the concept of stewardship, which is the responsible choice and manipulation of materials and the concern for their physical sources/origins. Thus, sustainable art may also be understood as art that is produced with consideration for the wider impact of the work and its inclusion within the environment. Sustainable art also:

__informs and interprets nature and its processes, or educates us about environmental problems

__is concerned with environmental forces and materials, creating artworks affected or powered by wind, water, lightning, even earthquakes

__re-envisions our relationship to nature, proposing new ways for us to co-exist with our environment

__reclaims and remediates damaged environments, restoring ecosystems in artistic and often aesthetic ways

Thus, you may expect to find at c l o r o p h i l a * :

__art work that expresses concern for environmental issues (biodiversity, climate change, multilateral environmental agreements, etc.), and the impact of their work on ecosystems (living and no-living components).

__art made by people who are developing and using non-toxic, non-polluting and sustainable materials and methods that are harmless to ecosystems – living and no-living components.

__art work made with natural/organic fibers, or recycled, reused, reusable materials.

__art installations of environmental interest.

__ art work that are made with the participation of members of communities.

__art work that deals with environmental policy issues.

__and others.


[1] Stivers, R. 1976. The Sustainable Society: Ethics and Economic Growth. Philadelphia: Westminster Press.

[2] Meadows, D.H., D.L. Meadows, J. Randers, and W.W. Behrens III. 1972. The Limits to Growth. Universe Books, New York, NY. ISBN 0-87663-165-0

[3] Daly, H. E. 1973. Towards a Steady State Economy. San Francisco: Freeman. Daly, H. E. 1991. Steady-State Economics (2nd ed.). Washington, D.C.: Island Press.


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