Vincent Huang - The Mermaid Project
- Wednesday, 18 August 2010
II recently had the opportunity to chat with eco-artist Vincent Huang. Vincent is using his art to raise awareness of the small Pacific country of Tuvalu, where sea levels are rapidly rising due to global warming.
Naturally Savvy Question (Andrea): What inspired you to take the cause of Global Warming?
Vincent Huang: As a contemporary artist, I would like to express my concern about the most serious issue in modern society. Obviously, that is climate change. I ask the general public to think about where we are going and how human civilization is developing. Through my art, creativity, and exhibitions, I hope to make people rethink preservation, energy, and environmental issues.
Naturally Savvy Question (Andrea): What artist influenced you?
Vincent Huang: Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968), one of the pioneers of twentieth century art. He emphasized the visual nature of Impressionist painting and conceived the transference of language, thoughts, and movement to the field of visual arts. He began the flexible use of new psychological and physiological materials and changed the art form, inventing a number of psychological and visual techniques for the new vanguard of modern art. Duchamp used objects as art pieces; this led me to select some objects and transfer them for a metaphorical meaning. I chose Polar animal images to express the core concept of climate change issues.
Naturally Savvy Question (Andrea): What has been the world-wide response to your work?
Vincent Huang: I used penguins as the symbolic animal victim of climate change crises. In the first stage, these penguins are depicted peacefully, visiting human cities to warn them of the crisis. However, as you know, it’s always hard to get attention through peaceful means. To facilitate greater exposure, the second stage penguins are shown in emotionally-stronger, more alarming situations, such as “committing suicide” in London public spaces. In the final stage, the penguins start to unite with other animals to attack/bite back at humans to symbolize Nature’s punishment. In my work "Nemesis", a polar bear devours a powerful leader, and in another work, a shark eats Ronald McDonald. Through these art projects, we generated media attention for the issue. I received many response emails through my website.
Naturally Savvy Question (Andrea): How did you decide to become an eco artist?
Vincent Huang: It was due to climate change becoming a serious worldwide issue. Recently, there were many eco-art exhibitions held in lots of art museums and galleries in Europe. Personally, I have always believed that art is not just for private inspiration but can impact society, perhaps even spreading some influence. Thus, I selected an environmental theme for my work.
Naturally Savvy Question (Andrea): What about Tuvalu was so inspiring?
Vincent Huang: Tuvalu caught my attention around 2 years ago, when I discovered many scientists expected the tiny island nation to be the first country to disappear due to rising sea levels. I was especially moved when I saw a Tuvaluan official crying when he spoke at the Copenhagen Summit last November, saying " the fate of my country rests in your hand.” I started to prepare the Dried Mermaid project for them, and I hoped the eco-art project would be helpful for the tiny country to generate more attention and support from the international community.
Naturally Savvy Question (Andrea): Thank you so much for speaking with me Vincent. Your work is beautiful, inspiring and incredibly meaningful. To learn more about Vincent Huang and his work, please visit www.vincentjfhuang.com