Millions of Pieces, One Puzzle

If you believe – as I do – in the transformative power of art in our understanding of the environment, then you’ll find the new online photo art exhibit called “Millions of Pieces, Only one Puzzle,” of interest.

The arresting images by Venezuelan photographer-biologist Antonio Briceno, left, focus on the biodiversity of Rwanda, weaving the lives of people into their natural environment. It’s a visual feast of a people engaged with their native landscape.

A production of the avaunt Oakland-based, Art Works for Change group, the exhibit features 10 diptychs pairing the stories of everyday people with the land they rely on. Originally created for World Environment Day, June 6, the show can be viewed at Artworks for Change.
The exhibit features an ecotourism village developed by former gorilla poachers. Honey harvesters and tea farmers working in the forest. Traditional medicinal plants grown by doctors for healing.

In addition to this online exposition, Briceno has recorded the images and stories of the Maori in New Zealand, shaman in South America, the Sami in Finland, and other people around the world, helping connect their stories to the larger puzzle of humanity.”

“This work pays homage to the people of Rwanda,” says Briceno. “Despite its dramatic history and the many problems it faces, the country is investing in a green economy where they are confident that respect for and preservation of nature will provide for the best health and wealth of its population. We cheer Rwanda on as an example to the rest of the world.”

“Millions of Pieces, Only One Puzzle” launched June 1 on the United Nations Environmental Program and Artworks for Change websites, and is also being featured by the U.S. business magazine Fast Company. In 2011, it will join with additional artworks to form the exhibition “Nature’s Toolbox: Biodiversity, Art & Invention,” which will tour museums internationally for two to three years. Coffee farmer’s photo courtesy of Project Rwanda.
Art Works for Change produces contemporary art exhibitions to address social and environmental issues. It uses the transformative power of art as a vehicle to promote dialogue and awareness, inspire action and thought, and address systems for social change. It uses the storytelling power of art to raise awareness and foster learning opportunities among a diverse population.

Essentially, the work of Artworks for Change is what I’m blogging about — the confluence of art and the environment, but with more emphasis on policy, science and a drive to get out onto the landscape and have fun. When you’re out and about, take photos, gather ideas, find inspiration. Send them in so we can all share in the wonder and bewilderment of our natural world. Leave a comment, take a jab, wax poetic, sing your song, embrace us along the scuffed path.

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