Art really can change the world. Take the renowned Thai street artist Mue Bon, who is collaborating with Greenpeace in an attempt to stop Indonesian rainforests being cleared and destroyed to create palm oil plantations. His new mural, made especially, is an artwork called Wings of Paradise, featuring a bird of paradise, and you can see it on the walls of the Bangkok Art and Cultural Centre, on display until 14th October.
Mue Bon is a highly respected Bangkok-based artist. He creates paintings and installations using mixed media and started his artistic career at a time when street art had a low profile in his homeland. Part of the early Thai street artist revolution, Mue Bon’s work embellishes the streets, and he’s determined to carry on improving the reputation of street artists in Thailand by making their work more accessible to the public.
He’s just one of many artists lending their skills to help campaign for rainforest conservation. The campaign also involves collaboration with artists from as far away as Australia and Kuala Lumpur. And the message is crystal clear: we need to protect and save Indonesia’s rainforests.
The palm oil industry, in the meantime, steamrollers on without so much as a thought for the future. It has already ravaged the precious forests of Borneo and Sumatra, and now it has finally reached Papua, where the bird of paradise depicted by Mue Bon lives. According to Greenpeace the mysterious, little-known birds and the forest they live in are under serious threat. As Mue Bon said in The Nation (http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/event/30355700), “Forests, home to endangered animals and precious treasures from the earth, are being destroyed by the hands of humans. I hope this artwork will be able to reflect the voices of these animals, voices that otherwise might never reach the concrete jungle.”
These days business is finally starting to realise the commercial potential of street art collaborations in Thailand. The artwork attracts tourists and reflects well on brands. In effect the businesses become art curators, which gives them an essential sense of ownership and spreads the message far and wide. In a world where large tracts of rainforest are being felled daily, every effort we can make to stop the destruction matters. Thank you, Mue Bon.
We’ll leave the last word to Greenpeace. “It’s time for us to stand together for the future of Indonesian forests. Artists, students, bird enthusiasts or consumers buying palm oil products in supermarkets, we need to come together and act.”