Serife Akkan recently launched her first digital solo art show “One Door One Hundred Trees” after receiving rave reviews for her painting Running To The Oasis, a desertification themed painting she made for the World Desertification Day on June 17, which she digitally exhibited as part of The Atelier Teymur Rzayev’s First Digital Climate Change Art Show published by Pinelo Art Gallery.
With fast urbanization in Turkey, particularly in Istanbul, the parks, the schoolyards and the greenery of her childhood gave way to enormous concrete buildings. Compared to her childhood, children who live in the city today do not have places to play, to run, to witness the change of seasons as reflected in the trees anymore. Istanbul, which used to have so much more green areas for children to play in, does not have them anymore. That is the theme Serife portrayed in Running To The Oasis. This painting was recently selected in the Defccoficial International World Environment Day Art Contest.
Also, with artists like Selva Ozelli, Fatma Kadir and Semine Hazar, Serife participated in a group show that contained paintings depicting Climate Change related themes such as Deforestation, Desertification, Biodiversity, Arctic melting, Hurricanes and Tsunami. The group art show ran from May 30 to June 12 and was a registered UN World Environment, Oceans and Desertification Days digital event that was published by the World’s first climate change museum — The Jockey Club Museum of Climate Change, Hong Kong — as well as over twenty-five other museums around the world. It was curated by Selva Ozelli, based on her series of articles on digital technology adoption, solar energy and tax policies in jurisdictions with the greatest carbon emissions. These articles were published by The Jockey Club Museum of Climate Change, Hong Kong, in addition to over 100 publications around the world.
Serife launched her solo digital art show One Door One Hundred Trees which was published by Pinelo Art Gallery, parallel to the aforementioned group show with the same group of artists since it had a similar Climate Change theme. Serife’s solo art show was launched ahead of United Nations World Habitat Day on October 5. The inspiration behind this show was to draw attention to the impact of rapid urbanization on our environment: The Earth is undergoing a mass extinction that could see up to a million species disappear in the coming decades – and humans are contributing heavily to this by causing the planet to warm by around 1 degree Celsius since pre-industrial times. During the 20th century, extinction rates were about 100 times higher than they would have been without humans, thus significantly altering most of the planet’s surface. Humanity’s ecological footprint is about 70 percent larger than the planet can sustain, with the most widespread form of land-use change being the expansion of agriculture. According to the IPBES report, over a third of the Earth’s land surface is now used for cropping or livestock, mainly at the expense of forests, wetlands and grasslands. Other key land-use changes include logging, mining and urbanization. Such changes are contributing to air, water and soil pollution, which, in turn, are contributing to the changes in ecological balance, thus resulting in the extinction of species that can be beneficial in eradicating pests and plagues. One wonders whether this ecological imbalance caused by Climate Change contributed to the rapid spread of COVID-19 around the world.
In Serife’s One Door One Hundred Trees series, she wanted to draw attention to man-made doors and the minimal presence of nature around them. A door or doorway symbolizes the transition and passageway from one place to another, representing the opening of new possibilities, hope, opportunities, new beginnings and transformation. Serife wanted the 12 doors in her art show — which represent 12 months of the year — to spark an awareness about the damage we are doing to the ecological balance and nature.
Currently, Serife is making artwork for the Portakal Cicegi Project, which translates to the Orange Blossom Project. This project is a partnership between the Turkish Education Foundation (TEV) and Port Art Gallery. As part of the project, artists donate their art work to be exhibited and sold at very reasonable prices to raise funds for the Turkish Education Foundation (TEV). Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year the project is raising funds for orphaned children of healthcare professionals who lost their lives while saving lives related to the coronavirus pandemic. Serife is donating three photos of her oil painting titled Children of War — a painting she made for the World Refugee Day on June 20.
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