Installation

Environmental Artist Ernest Zacharevic Carves An Emergency Message Into A Sumatran Palm Plantation

February 08, 2018

After an impactful initial phase curated and executed in early 2017, Ernest Zacharevic recently went back to Sumatra to realize the next chapter of the ongoing art initiative, Splash And Burn. Once again teaming up with conservation charity Sumatran Orangutan Society (SOS), who now partnered with handmade cosmetics company Lush, producing a striking intervention within the landscape of an existing oil palm plantation.

A simple, yet highly effective idea was to carve SOS into a 20 hectares of palm oil plantation land that the local Orangutan Information Centre bought with proceeds collected through #SOSsumatra campaign organized in partnership with Lush. Last year they produced a limited edition of 14,600 orangutan soaps, symbolizing the 14,600 orangutans remaining in the wild in Sumatra. The funds raised were used to acquire a piece of land which would help the organizations to create a the buffer zone in the area and reclaim and restore its native forest.

With oil palm plantations land being almost totally devoid of wildlife, the entire area first had to be completely cleaned from palm trees. Zacharevic took a slightly different approach this time and used the given parameters to create a thought provoking message while working towards a greater goal. By physically altering and shaping the Sumatran landscape, his team armed with ribbons, a drone, and chainsaws, carved a giant distress call - SOS, Save Our Souls. Seen high from the skies, the intervention is meant to represent the urge and the scale of the issue that is regularly hidden from the public and mass media.––Sasha Bogojev

“The Land Art movement of the 60s and 70s has always been an inspiration to me. Just like graffiti, the context and location of Land Art is often as meaningful as its content or artistic expression. I have had the ambition of creating a Land Art piece since the beginning of the Splash and Burn campaign. I wanted to communicate the magnitude of the problem to a wider audience as well as provide creative outlook, hope, and inspiration to local communities and conservationists.‘Save Our Souls’ is a message communicated to those at a distance, a reminder of the connectedness we share with nature. " - Splash and Burn Artist and Curator, Ernest Zacharevic