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PBL11 Students Connect Art with Climate Change in “HUMAN/NATURE” Exhibition

art displayed at the exhibiton(June 3, 2022) Inspired by humanity’s impact on the planet, PBL11 students staged the opening of the exhibition “HUMAN/NATURE” on Wednesday, June 1 at High School Park. The exhibition runs through Wednesday, June 6.

As part of the project, students completed a year-long Environmental Science course where they confronted the daunting impact humans have on the planet. They collaborated with several working artists to increase their understanding of  what “counts” as art. The goal of “HUMAN/NATURE” was to think differently about the ways humans treat the planet —individually and collectively. 

The students worked closely with Kaitlin Pomerantz, a local environmental artist, to establish the exhibition’s ideation and design. They also visited the Recycled Artists In Residency (RAIR) studio in Philadelphia, where they learned how to utilize waste products as resources for their art. The exhibition showcased eight pieces of art all made from recycled materials. 

A few highlights from the exhibition include “Somebody do something” by Derrick Jones, whose piece featured a TV with a reflective screen that read “Somebody do something” in front of a bench. When visitors sat in front of the TV, they saw a reflection of themselves. Jones’ goal was to confront this issue of passive activism when it comes to climate change. “So many people consume media about climate change but don’t take any action to fight it,” said Jones. 

“Home Sweet Home” by Zachai Edmonds and Donovan Oppong-Agyare and “Bird Bagged” by Amelia Fishman, Andrew Marcus, and Anthony Rebitz were displayed together. They portrayed a bird sitting in a nest made out of chicken wire, plastic bags, and recycled materials like bottles, lawn signs, and newspapers. “Home Sweet Home,” the nest portion of the piece, was meant to confront the negative effects of birds using garbage for nest building. The “Bird Bagged” portion of the piece, the bird itself, was meant to confront the increased number of deaths of birds due to plastic pollution. The bird itself was made of chicken wire, the wings and beak were made of recycled lawn signs, and the inside was stuffed with plastic bags donated by the community members who attended the exhibition.