Dramatically carved into the landscape of a Sumatran oil palm plantation that borders one of the world’s most unique rainforests are three ominous letters: SOS. The message by artist Ernest Zacharevic, cut into a Sumatran oil palm plantation that has been bought up by the Sumatran Orangutan Society to be reforested. Photo: Ernest Zacharevic / Cover Images

By Kate Lamb
27 February 2018

(The Guardian) – Dramatically carved into the landscape of a Sumatran oil palm plantation that borders one of the world’s most unique rainforests are three ominous letters: SOS.

The message stretches half a kilometre alongside a snaking river; a bird’s-eye view gives the eerie sense the land has been given voice, and is issuing a mayday.

“From the ground, you would not suspect anything more than just another palm oil plantation. The aerial view, however, reveals the SOS distress signal,” says the Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic.

For a week Zacharevic has been carefully plotting his concept out tree by tree – or oil palm by oil palm – all 1,100 that were cut down to etch out the message.

The work in Bukit Mas, Sumatra, is intended to convey a pressing distress signal, drawing attention to the ongoing destruction of Indonesia’s rainforests and the critically endangered species, such as the Sumatran orangutan, that reside within it.

“Save Our Souls is a message communicated to those at a distance, a reminder of the connectedness we share with nature,” he says of the acronym. “As more of the forests are lost, we lose a little bit of ourselves in the process.”

This is the second year running that Zacharevic, a multidisciplinary artist famed for his Penang murals, has taken the state of Indonesian forests to heart in an artistic awareness campaign called Splash and Burn.

The campaign is a play on the “slash and burn” technique used by some Indonesian farmers to clear swaths of rainforest for oil palm plantations.

Indonesia is the world’s largest producer of palm oil – a substance widely used in food, cosmetics and cleaning products – and as the country’s rainforests shrink, the industry stands accused of complicity in mass deforestation.

Inspired initially by the devastating forest fires of 2015, Zacharevic says this year he has delved deeper into the industry’s problems, as well as artistic ways to express them. […]

This year the artist has collaborated with the Sumatran Orangutan Society (SOS), which, together with the cosmetics company Lush, raised the funds to buy the 50-hectare (124-acre) oil palm plantation with the intention of reforesting it entirely.

Before the oil palms are replaced with tens of thousands of native seedlings, Zacharevic was offered the chance to bring his idea to life. [more]

‘SOS’: the rainforest distress call carved into Sumatra's oil palms

1 comments :

  1. Dennis Mitchell said...

    They cut down their own farm. Earth first dropped a plastic sheet to make the damn look cracked. The valve turners just shut down the valve then waited for the police. Play nice now. This is just play acting. There is no need to act like we are in the sixth great extinction, or that global warming is real, or that we are still losing habitat. We all know they will never stop, so no need to risk actually challenging the status quo.
     

 

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