Creating Art for International Day for Biological Diversity
Tired Earth: An Interview with Ilhan Sayin, Environmental Artist

This interview was conducted by Selva Ozelli


What are you working on now?

I just launched my second solo art show “Spring Amidst Mist and Masks” as part of Tired Earth’s #Maskuary campaign. This campaign is supported by the CUHK Jockey Club Museum of Climate Change; The Institute of International Knowledge Management (TIIKM) as well as Pinelo Art Gallery artists Selva Ozelli, Fatma Kadir and Semine Hazar.

The #MASKUARY campaign raises awareness of the environmental pollution from single use plastic face mask disposals with the risk of contamination and infection it creates. The launch of the #Maskuary Campaign art shows will take place at 2021 London Climate Action Week with the support of the CUHK Jockey Club Museum of Climate Change1. These art shows will also be part of TIIKM’s Fine Art & Humanities Conference that will take place on September 21-22, 2021, which has a theme of “Health in the Arts and Humanities.”2


Paintings in my two solo  art shows have been selected in the:

How has this year been so far, what worked well, what didn’t move as quickly as you would have liked?

I have been channeling my energy positively into artistic expression and launched two solo digital art shows during the first half of this year. So far this year my art shows have been exhibited at:

  1. The Jockey Club Museum of Climate Change Hong Kong3;
  2. 7th Session of Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development4
  3. 7th Asian Pacific Adaptation Forum; 
  4. 2021 EU Africa Business Forum; 
  5. 2021 World Water5 & Oceans6 Days; 
  6. 2021 Earthday.Org7
  7. 2021 World Migratory Bird Day8
  8. 2021 International Day for Biological Diversity9;
  9. 2021 Latin America and Caribbean Climate Week;
  10. Give to Corona Art Show by Pinelo Art Gallery; 
  11. 2021 World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought10;
  12. 2021 London Climate Action Week11 
  13. 2021 Fine Arts and Humanities Conference TIIKM12.


What do you hope to express in your “FLOWERS OF THE DESERT” and “SPRING AMIDST MIST & MASKS“ art shows?

The inspiration behind my art show “Flowers of the Desert” is to promote public awareness of international efforts to combat desertification, the human-cause degradation of land in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas. Desertification occurs because dryland ecosystems, which cover over one third of the world's land area, are extremely vulnerable to overexploitation and inappropriate land use. Poverty, political instability, deforestation, forest fires, overgrazing and bad irrigation practices can all undermine the productivity of the land.

The inspiration behind my art show “Spring Amidst Mist and Masks” is to lend support to Tired Earth’s #Maskuary campaign which is raising public awareness about the disposal of single use plastic mask waste’s impact on the environment as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.  

What influenced you to paint about environmental matters and please explain the role of Islam in your decision?

Humans are part of nature therefore we ought to guard it. In my work I want to reflect natures beauty so that we are  encouraged to protect it. According to Islam, the basic elements of nature belong to all living beings, not just human beings with Allah commanding human beings to avoid degradation of the environment. The prophet said, "Even if you know that you will die tomorrow, plant a tree. Therefore, to say that I am not influenced by Islam in my environmental art work would be unfitting.

What are your plans?

I hope to continue making environmental themed artwork and exhibit them the upcoming UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) and UN Climate Change Conference (COP26).

How can people find out more about what you are working on?





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