under water colors

the story is really moving…jamie hewlett, the artist behind gorillaz (who rock), recently traveled to bangladesh with oxfam and visited the island of char atra, where climate change has caused flooding that is affecting the daily life of the people who live there.
not only have families had to raise their homes above water on stilts, but some have lost children to the floods, and some kids in the area have to swim to school with their books on their heads due to flooding. visit the oxfam site for more info.
hewlett was inspired to record what he saw in a series of paintings that capture both the difficulty of their situation as well as the resilience of the people…can you imagine having to spend part of your day literally up a tree, for safety?
here are some of the paintings, and the explanations behind them…

“this is the river erosion, showing how the bank has almost been sliced away. you can see the men folk looking at us on our boat – watching us quizzically as to who we are.”
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“this shows the kids up in the trees, which for many of them is the safest place to go during the floods – gathering some food rations to keep them going and climbing up, staying there for as long as they can.”
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“this is in dhaka where most people’s transport is the rickshaw. it seemed the right thing to draw really, cycling through the floods. of course, there weren’t floods there then – artistic license.”
i think they’re beautiful in their simplicity. i especially like his use of materials…as he explains, “i liked the idea of putting the paintings on paper and envelopes that were a bit dog-eared, as if they had been dropped in a puddle.”
the paintings are on display as part of a free exhibit on climate change taking place now through october 31 at the dray walk gallery at the truman brewery in london, and are available for purchase through oxfam, with proceeds going towards continuing their work in bangladesh.

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