Black painted portraits unveiled in Kelvingrove at protest art exhibition ahead of COP26 – World


A protest art exhibition opened at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, showcasing three striking portraits, with faces partly obscured by black paint. The three paintings represent lives devastated by the climate crisis in countries around the world. The paintings, by Glasgow-based artist ID Campbell, were commissioned by Christian Aid, Islamic Relief UK and Tearfund ahead of COP26, to highlight the stories of the vulnerable communities in which they work – communities that are first climate crisis line.

Protest Art: A Lament in Black Paint is an exhibition that the three international development organizations hope will help amplify global voices over the coming weeks and accelerate action, in what is widely seen as a summit of United Nations on the climate and a turning point for the planet. . Concerns have been expressed that the number of people from the South of the world able to actively participate in COP26 in person may be reduced due to the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on international travel.

The exhibit will run through October 24 at the Kelvingrove, after which it will go on tour and appear in a number of important venues in the city during COP26, including Glasgow Cathedral, St George’s Tron and Glasgow Central Mosque.

Christian Aid Scotland Director Sally Foster-Fulton said: “The art of protest allows us to explore issues related to climate change in a truly powerful way and by dipping every painting in black paint, we are able to visually represent how the actions of the industrialized north are impacting our sisters and brothers around the world.

“This injustice must be at the heart of COP26 and the voices of communities in southern countries must be at the center of decision-making. Each portrait is one of our global neighbors and we owe it to Joyce, Rita and Dhital and the communities they represent, to ensure that their stories and lived experiences are amplified in November.

Maria Zafar, Campaigns and Public Affairs Coordinator at Islamic Relief UK said: “Islamic Relief UK, Christian Aid and Tearfund have partnered on this project to bring attention to the impact of climate change on vulnerable communities – and to make sure they are not forgotten. during the COP 26 negotiations next month. “Climate emergencies are becoming more frequent, and although we may see them reported in the news, we rarely see how communities are adapting in the long term.

“These images seek to change that. They are a vivid representation of the effects of climate change on communities around the world and of how individuals are being forced to change their lifestyles in the face of devastation. “

Graeme McMeekin, Director of Tearfund Scotland, said: “This exhibit is such a striking but sobering way of the damage our organizations suffer daily around the world as people are pushed further into extreme poverty. . For every little bit of progress, we take a step back when we fail to address this harsh reality, which Iain has so well captured.

“With COP26 right on our doorstep, we have a real opportunity right now to tell the stories of those who cannot be in Glasgow right now, but whose lives and livelihoods are on the line with every word spoken. at this conference. “

The three charities are grateful to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum for allowing protest art to be displayed in one of Scotland’s most iconic art venues, ahead of COP26 .

Artist ID Campbell says it has been a privilege to collaborate on this project and hopes people will take the time to view the paintings while they are at Kelvingrove and read the stories behind the portraits. He said: “When I paint portraits, it uplifts who this person is in people’s minds. People get curious about who is in the painting and want to know what their story is. We want the audience to be curious. to know the real stories of these people, on the front lines of the climate emergency and hungry for climate justice. “

Councilor David McDonald, President of Glasgow Life and Deputy Head of Glasgow City Council said: “COP26 is a real opportunity for all of us to make the changes needed to prevent more lives around the world from being destroyed by effects of climate change. These paintings demonstrate the all too real consequences of global warming and are a stark reminder of what exactly is at stake when many world leaders travel to Glasgow at the end of the month. Glasgow has already declared a climate emergency because we realize that the effects felt today will only worsen in generations to come without new measures being agreed. “

Notes to Editors

NB There are pictures and photos available of the 3 people featured in the portraits and paintings dipped in black paint.

General portrait information: Painting 1 – Joyce’s Story – Malawi Joyce, a mother of two, lost her home in a cyclone in Malawi. She has now converted to a seamstress. Painting 2 – Rita’s Story – Bangladesh Rita and her family lived in extreme poverty in an area hit by cyclones and storms. Rita now grows sunflowers for a living. Painting 3 – The Story of Dhital – Nepal Dhital and her family lost their homes and livelihoods in devastating floods. They now have a new home that is both earthquake and flood proof.

About Christian Aid Christian Aid exists to create a world where everyone can live fully, without poverty. Poverty is an outrage against humanity. It robs people of their dignity and allows injustice to flourish. But together, we have the power to transform lives.

We are a global movement of people, churches and local organizations who passionately advocate for dignity, equality and justice in countries around the world. We are the agents of change, the peacemakers, the powerful at heart. We provide urgent and practical help in times of crisis and beyond. We seek to eradicate extreme poverty by addressing its root causes. With people living in poverty, we amplify our voices to speak the truth to power and create lasting change.

About Islamic Relief Islamic Relief is a faith-based development and humanitarian agency working to transform and save the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in more than 40 countries. Islamic Relief helps people as needed and does not discriminate.

Founded in Birmingham in 1984 by a group of volunteers, we have helped over 117 million people around the world. We’re saving lives and empowering people to lift themselves out of poverty in over 37 countries – from Bangladesh to Bosnia, Pakistan to Palestine, Kenya to Kosovo. Islamic Relief is on the ground in some of the world’s most dangerous and difficult places – including Syria and Yemen – empowering the most marginalized communities to resist conflicts and natural disasters and to build a better future. We also support vulnerable people in the UK in partnership with local charities and organizations.

About Tearfund Tearfund is a Christian charity that partners with churches in over 50 of the world’s poorest countries. We fight poverty through sustainable development, responding to disasters and challenging injustice. We believe that it is possible to end extreme poverty. Tearfund is also a member of the Disaster Emergency Committee. For more information on Tearfund’s work, please visit

About ID Campbell Iain Campbell is a Glasgow-based portrait painter and an affiliate artist of the UNESCO Chair on Integration of Refugees through Languages ​​and the Arts. Her work focuses on bold portraits, exploring life in the face of adversity. Between 2016 and 2019 he was Artist in Residence at St. George’s Tron Church of Scotland in Glasgow. Iain is best known for his painting, Our Last Supper, featuring thirteen guests from the Glasgow City Mission. He has also painted for the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Christian Aid, Tearfund, The World Council of Churches, and in 2020 he worked in partnership with Remembering Srebrenica (Scotland) on paintings for the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide. He also exhibits paintings at the Glasgow Gallery and the Lemond Gallery.


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