SplashAndBurn x Escif 'Rewind' the Sumatran Rainforest
After successfully raising awareness about the consequences of palm oil plantations in Indonesia, the SplashAndBurn initiative revealed their latest project; Rewild, a solution to help the alarming situation by fighting back. For this leg of the project, they teamed up with Spanish artist-activist Escif and completed a monumental piece of land art in a former plantation, together with SplashAndBurn founder and curator, Ernest Zacharevic. By carving the familiar 'Rewind' symbol into the man-made landscape, Escif suggests a way of 'turning back the clock' on deforestation by reclaiming barren land and returning it to the rainforest.
"The idea of going back, of rewinding, is an invitation to reconnect with ourselves; to recover awareness and respect for the earth, which is the ecosystem we are part of” –ESCIF
The island of Sumatra has lost over 40 percent of its forest to palm oil, paper pulp, and rubber plantations in the last two decades. This unique ecosystem, known as the Leuser Ecosystem, is a vital habitat for orangutans, tigers, rhinos, elephants, and countless other species. Aside from dwindling wildlife populations, the industry and its practices are a direct cause for forest fires and a transboundary haze, as well as human displacement.
Inspired by the upcoming UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, the collaboration uses the idea of 'Rewind' to call for action before climate change reaches a point that would trigger a global catastrophe. A hopeful message symbolizing that it is NOT too late to reclaim our fate and make meaningful change. By supporting efforts such as MoreTrees, Sumatran Orangutan Society and Orangutan Information Center, palm oil plantations will be destroyed and native flora is replanted in effort to restore the incredible rainforests and unique wildlife found in the Leuser Ecosystem.
During work on the main intervention, the artist we featured in Spring 2018 created a series of smaller signature interventions, showing an ironic view of the situation or a simple interaction with the environment. From using the universally popular Ninja Turtles to invite the locals to "Go Green" to portraying the disappearance of wildlife by depicting only parts of native animals, Escif uses creativity to point out important issues and ways of fighting them.
Aside from donating, one can support the cause by sharing the art-powered #RewildsumatraRewildsumatra campaign, which helps build optimism and activism to support the long-term protection of Sumatra's wildlife. A short film documenting the process was announced at London's Oxford Street last weekend and is now playing worldwide, with a special screening and Q&A at Norway's Nuart Festival. This cultural initiative is curated by Ernest Zacharevic and coordinated by Charlotte Pyatt, run in association with the Sumatran Orangutan Society and the Orangutan Information Centre. –Sasha Bogojev
Photo credits by Nicholas Chin and Ernest Zacharevic