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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Art Makes an Impact Beyond Words

Building public awareness of humanitarian injustices and environmental challenges requires a myriad of communication vehicles. Traditional written print and online media, network news shows & documentaries, and independent short films reach a broad audience. Yet, traditional media often falls short of conveying intended messages.

Pamela Longobardi speaking
at The Plastic GYRE Symposium
In its many formats, artwork provides tactile renditions of challenging situations that communicate in a profound manner. Whether mystically beautiful or a harsh depiction of the scenario, artwork speaks in a language unavailable with the written or spoken word.

Distinguished Georgia State University (GSU) Professor & global renowned artist Pamela Longobardi, eloquently states the important role artworks plays in educating and creating awareness of plastic's invasive presence in remote places:
"Artists have the ability to make the invisible visible, allowing viewers to see previously hidden truths about the world around them. My primary interest in my work is to explore the relationship between humans and the natural world, how human culture impacts the non-human world. My exploration of remote places all over the world reveals plastic’s invasive presence, and simultaneously nature’s interaction with this material.  My photographs and sculptures are the forensic evidence of this invasion, and in this way, deliver messages from the natural world about its state of being.”
The Plastic GYRE Symposium
In June 2013, Pamela was the Lead Artist in the Alaska Gyre Expedition. Launched by the Alaska Sealife Center and the Anchorage Museum, the Gyre Expedition assessed the impact of plastic debris washing onto Alaskan shores from the Pacific Ocean gyres. The expedition was an amazing collaboration of elite scientists and artists working together for a common cause.

National Geographic (NatGeo) adventure filmmaker, producer and director J.J. Kelly joined the gyre team to document the four-year in-the-making expedition. On August 21, 2013, the NatGeo twenty-minute film GYRE: Creating Art from a Plastic Ocean was released on the monumental expedition.

Pamela Longobardi with works
 “Economies of Scale" (L),
and “Bounty, Pilfered” (R),
photo by Kip Evans
Pamela worked collaboratively with Howard Ferren, the GYRE Project originator, and Julie Decker, curator of the GYRE exhibition, to form the team of artists aboard the ship; the artists created art from the foraged plastic debris collected on the expedition. Subsequently, GYRE: The Plastic Ocean exhibition expanded to scores of esteemed global artists working with plastic pollution. The David J. Sencer Museum of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hosted the exhibition January 26 - June 19, 2015.

Along with a committed team, Pamela orchestrated The Plastic GYRE Symposium: Artists, Scientists, and Activists Respond to coincide with the CDC Museum exhibit. Plastic Pollution Coalition (PPC) Co-Founder, Dianna Cohen provided tremendous support on multiple levels for the empowering Symposium. In addition, Dianna's artwork was included in the GYRE: The Plastic Ocean exhibit.

On March 26 & 27. 2015 nationally renowned scientists, filmmakers, artists, and activists converged on Atlanta for The Plastic GYRE Symposium. Hosted jointly by the Welch Foundation at GSU, CDC and the PPC, the Symposium was an effort to raise awareness and discourse on the global plastic pollution crisis. 

Then Elemental Impact (Ei) Chair Scott Seydel was one of the esteemed Symposium speakers. The RiA Blog article, The Plastic GYRE Symposium: Artists, Scientists, and Activists Respond, recaps the impressive, well-attended Symposium.

Crossing Over
As a continuation of her profound work with plastics found in global oceans and coastal zones, Pamela expanded her Greece travels to the island of Lesvos in 2015. Nearly 400,000 refugees mostly from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia landed on Lesvos beaches in 2015. A plethora of plastic items arrived with the refugees. Remnants of human migration including life jackets and personal belongings joined the water bottles, fishing nets, and other plastic detritus already washing up on the once pristine beach.

Pamela Longobardi & Susan Knippenberg,
Flying Free, digital photograph, 2017
Pamela's Crossing Over exhibition is an artistic compilation of photographs, sculptures, and installations that explore and document the intersection of a humanitarian crisis and an environmental catastrophe. Crossing Over is open to the public at the CDC Museum July 9 – October 5, 2018; reservations are required.

Crossing Over complements The Refugee Journey to Wellbeing, an immersive museum experience. Created by various CDC divisions in 2016, The Refugee Journey to Wellbeing installation provides insights into refugee health and the resettlement process. The exhibit is open to the public at the CDC Museum July 9 – October 5, 2018; reservations are required.

Ei Integrates Art & Impact
Known for articulate written and spoken communication, Ei Founder Holly Elmore is an artist at heart and understands how visual art speaks the unspoken. Holly's art medium is photography.

In late 2017 Holly expanded her communication repertoire beyond publishing articles in the Ei Blogs, trade journals, and industry papers to photojournalism in nationally distributed Southern Farm & Garden (SF&G). Rather than document Ei's important work, the SF&G articles complement and intertwine Ei Pioneers, Strategic Allies, and initiatives within the copy.

The recently launched Ei Digital Books are in partnership with Holly Elmore Enterprises and comprised of Fingertip Press publications supported by Holly Elmore Images (HEI) photos. Created and published by Ei Partner Nancy Suttles, the digital books augment Ei’s profound work within the Soil Health and Water Use | Toxicity platforms. Over the years, the Fingertip Press evolved into Holly’s nomenclature for her published articles, documents, and other written communication.

In May 2018, Holly accepted the invitation to present at the 2018 Phlorographers Unite workshop hosted in Denver, CO by Jackie Kramer of LuvBlooms Photography. Holly presented on Creating Your Legacy: making an impact with your photography. The HEI Nature Photography video served as an intro to Holly’s presentation. 

Cigarette butts collected on a
four-mile walk in Holly's neighborhood
In her presentation, Holly encouraged the audience to use their images for broadening horizons and making a difference. One example given was a creative capture of a pile of cigarette butts collected on a four-mile walk in her neighborhood. With no words, the image conveys the impact of careless tossing of cigarette butts on our roadways.

Holly's PPT presentation is available for download on the Holly Elmore Images website page.

Ei is honored to join artists like Pamela Longobardi and use art to make an impact beyond words.