Creation care art exhibit at COP26

Licensed Lay Minister at St Nicolas Church, Earley, Emma Major has created 40 paintings and poems to highlight issues of climate justice.

The bold and contemporary artwork and poetry were created during daily prayer and reflection time in Lent earlier this year. The exhibition highlights a range of climate focused topics including deforestation, plant and animal species diversity, recycling, and sea level rise.

Each set of paintings and poetry are accompanied by a brief thought, prayer, or reflection to encourage the viewer to explore the significance of climate change and consider how their actions can impact the planet. The paintings are now in Glasgow to be exhibited by Tearfund at the COP26 climate conference in November.

Emma reflects on her inspiration for the art:

“Each morning I spent time with God, reading the Bible, praying, pondering and painting. I didn’t have an aim in mind, I didn’t expect to produce anything. I just sought the peace that painting and praying brings me.

“Every day I found myself coming back to the impact of climate change on the planet, issues of climate justice on the most vulnerable in our world and impending climate emergency.

“The paintings each emerged differently. Sometimes I would be inspired by colour, sometimes by shapes or marks. Sometimes the poems would come first and inspire the paintings. Usually, the paintings would “show” me something which inspired the poem.”

Sharing her hopes for the artwork, Emma said:

“My hope is that these paintings and poems might help people engage with the reality of climate change in a way they haven’t before. Maybe they will inspire someone to want to reduce their impact on the planet.

“Perhaps the poems will resonate with someone and become the inspiration for a letter to a politician. Maybe they will help people pray or help them share with others the importance of care for creation.”

The paintings and poems, with additional reflections and prayers, are in the final stages of production as a book to be published by Wild Goose Publications in the new year.

Emma is also hosting an online prayer session during COP26 on Sunday 14 November at 6pm with an opportunity for prayer and reflection inspired by the artwork and poetry. Email Emma to find out more: emma@stnicolas.org.uk.

A range of events are taking place across the diocese during COP26 in November with opportunities to learn more about climate change and take part in prayer vigils for the planet.