Brussels mural paints a positive picture of ecosystem renewal — Global Issues


Created in collaboration with the United Nations and non-profit organization Street Art for Mankind (SAM), Lula Goce’s ‘The Alchemist’ is the first in a series of 50 murals to be painted in cities across the world over the next 10 years. world to encourage ecological recovery of damaged or dying ecosystems.

Mother Nature protects her flock

“This mural, this lady, is a metaphor of Mother Nature taking care of the environment and trying to preserve space for all the animals in the herd,” explains Lula Goce. “She’s trying to protect it and watching us because we have a responsibility to protect it.”

UNDP / Yuichi Ishida

A woman plants mangrove trees in East Timor.

With the planet’s ecosystems under threat from climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, it has never been more urgent to ensure those ecosystems are revitalized and thrive.

“Scientists tell us we only have 10 years left to move from exploiting ecosystems to reviving them. This can be achieved, but action is needed from across society,” said Veronika Hunt Safrankova, head of the Brussels office of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), adding that “artists can play a pivotal role in disseminating the errand.”

Bringing the natural world to the city

Born in Galicia, Spain, Lula Goce grew up amid “salty coastal air, barnacles, drizzle and beautiful beaches”, and she brings these natural influences to the urban spaces where she works.

“When we live in cities, surrounded by cars and buildings, we lose this connection to the natural world,” said Lula Goce, who has created artworks all over the world, including in Azerbaijan, Mexico and the United States. We are part of nature and it is up to us to be responsible for the planet.”

Art that sparks dialogue

According to the artist, painting immense works of art in public space creates a direct interaction between viewer and mural from the moment the painting process begins.

“Art in the studio is for people who love art and are looking for art. Here it is for people going to work, taking out the trash; they don’t expect it”.

The public is also often surprised to see that she is a woman. “I break through their stereotypes, the bricks they have in their heads,” she adds.

Creating positive change

Artists painting such murals must be strong both physically and mentally, especially as they often work in changeable weather conditions. For Lula Goce, she also has to battle a fear of heights, but says her will to complete her projects is greater than her fear.

In creating such murals, she says she feels a huge responsibility, as the artwork will be a constant presence in the lives of those who live around them.

“I want them to have a good relationship with the arts and I try to convey a positive message. (In this mural) I present a flock that we must keep. Change is possible when we work together.”

It was created with the support of the UN Regional Information Center in Brussels (UNRIC), the City of Brussels and Parcours Street Art, and made possible by UN Global Compact member, Solway.

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