Ilhan Sayin Interview

Interview: Ilhan Sayin & Flowers of Hope at LCAW

Ilhan Sayin, Artist.
Ilhan Sayin, Artist.

1. You are attending London Climate Action Week with your art show, Flowers of Hope.  How does this fit with the programming of LCAW2023?

London Climate Action Week  (LCAW) takes place from 24 June – 2nd July and is focused on four main themes: 

(1) Accelerating the global clean economy;
(2) Delivering just climate transitions;
(3) Growing networks for action;
(4) Creating a greener London.

With my “Flowers of Hope” Art Show which compliments LCAW’s theme of accelerating the global clean economy,  I am celebrating a renewed sense of hope with the adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework at the 15th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 15) with the world quickly shifting to its implementation (action).

2. What was the vision for creating Flowers of Hope?

Ilhan Sayin - Flowers of Hope
Ilhan Sayin - Flowers of Hope

With my art show “Flower of Hope,” I am drawing attention to the fact that there is a growing recognition that biological diversity is a global asset of tremendous value to future generations.  And that we need to preserve the number of species that are being significantly reduced by climate change.

Biological diversity is often understood in terms of the wide variety of plants, animals, and microorganisms, but it also includes genetic differences within each species — for example, between varieties of crops and breeds of livestock — and the variety of ecosystems (lakes, forest, deserts, agricultural landscapes) that host multiple kinds of interactions among their members (humans, plants, animals).

Biological diversity resources are the pillars upon which we build civilizations. But the loss of biodiversity threatens all, including our health. It has been proven that biodiversity loss could expand zoonoses - diseases transmitted from animals to humans- while, on the other hand, if we keep biodiversity intact, it offers excellent tools to fight against pandemics like those caused by coronaviruses.

3.  Will you exhibit Flowers of Hope at other venues this year?

Ilhan Sayin - Flowers of Hope
Ilhan Sayin - Flowers of Hope

In addition to LCAW, I  have a museum exhibition at Havre de Grace Maritime Museum and Environmental Center for a month during October in Maryland, USA.

4.  How does Eco Art educate people about climate change?

Ecological art is an art genre that seeks to preserve Earth's life forms, resources, and ecology. It is a distinct genre from Environmental art in that it involves functional ecological systems restoration and socially engaged, activist, community-based interventions.[3] Ecological art also addresses politics, culture, economics, ethics, and aesthetics as they impact the conditions of ecosystems.

A current definition of ecological art drafted collectively by the EcoArt Network of international artists, founded in 1998, is 

"an art practice that embraces an ethic of social justice in both its content and form/materials. EcoArt is created to inspire caring and respect, stimulate dialogue, and encourage the long-term flourishing of the social and natural environments in which we live. It commonly manifests as socially engaged, activist, community-based restorative or interventionist art.”

While I paint flowers in their glory,  my artist friend Selva Ozelli who is also exhibiting at LCAW, paints burning roses to show the impact of climate change on flowers/nature.

5. What advice would you give someone working to spread awareness of the climate crisis through art?

Ilhan Sayin - Flowers of Hope
Ilhan Sayin - Flowers of Hope

I began exhibiting worldwide during the worst of times, during the pandemic, with a group of friends from our Atelier Fatma Kadir, Mehmet Kuran, Selva Ozelli, Gunsu Saracoglu - whose work is also on exhibit at LCAW.  It was not easy to exhibit during the pandemic, but we succeeded.  

So I would tell anyone who cares to spread awareness of the climate crisis through art should just do it.  Make paintings that show the beauty of nature and the destruction of man-made climate change on nature.

6.  Will you attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) held in the UAE this year?

Yes I intend to do so as part of the Global Resilience Partnership platform along with my artist friends Fatma Kadir, Mehmet Kuran, Selva Ozelli, and Gunsu Saracoglu.

7.  Anything else you would like to share with us?

Thanks for asking.  Frankly, I wish I had started exhibiting my eco-art earlier in my life.  I feel like I wasted a lot of time. But better late than never.

8.  How can people reach you?

Ilhan Sayin - Flowers of Hope
Ilhan Sayin - Flowers of Hope
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