Czech street artist Toy_Box and the Faces of Climate Change

Published: Sep 29, 2021 Reading time: 3 minutes
Czech street artist Toy_Box and the Faces of Climate Change
© Foto: Prokop Slezák

On a wall at the Florenc metro station in central Prague, Czech street artist, illustrator, and comic book artist Toy_Box is making a statement about the weather. With cans of red and black spray paint, her large-scale images on a public transit facade are part of the People in Need (PIN) Faces of Climate Change project, which depicts real people who are feeling the effects of climate change on a daily basis.

Faces of Climate Change tells the stories of five people PIN has met during our work around the world. Each one has personally experienced the effects of climate change on their daily lives. They are from Afghanistan, Brazil, Cambodia, Mongolia, and Zambia, and have suffered droughts, floods, freezes, and landscape destruction that is devastating their food supplies and upending their livelihoods. Toy_Box has teamed up with PIN to illustrate their struggles.

“Climate change is a very poignant issue for me,” the artist says. “I have children, so I am concerned about what will happen to our planet in the years to come. We should take care of it and pass it on to future generations so they can live here comfortably, too.”

PIN climate change expert Jakub Zelený says the project’s objective is to show that “climate change is not happening at the same rate everywhere in the world,” and that millions are suffering disproportionately. “Paradoxically, the poorest countries and the poorest people are the most affected by climate change, despite their negligible contribution to its causes,” Zelený says. “People in Need is trying to support these people to help them adapt to changing conditions and avoid extreme poverty.”Tith Davy, a teacher in Cambodia, is one of those whose likeness adorns the facade at Florenc. Davy, who experiences severe storms and floods nearly every year, is working with PIN to develop an early warning system so that she and others can escape rising water before it claims lives and property. Another portrait, that of Mongolian herdsman Urjinsuren, will soon join Davy on the same wall. Urjinsuren worries about extreme frosts, called judo in Mongolian, that kill cattle and destroy people’s main source of income.

Toy_Box has already finished painting Maliwa, a drought-stricken farmer from Zambia, who struggles to grow enough food for her family. Maliwa’s story is painted on a wall near DEPO2015 in Pilsen.

Another work from the Faces of Climate Change project is in Děčín, on the wall of Cafe Prostor, where Toy_Box painted Lobo, who was shot and killed defending the Amazon rainforest in Brazil from illegal loggers.

The paintings at Prague's Florenc station will be completed and unveiled at a public launch event on Tuesday, 26 October at 17:00. T-shirts and backpacks with Toy_Box's paintings will be available for sale. Toy_Box’s work has long focused on social and environmental issues, for which she has been awarded numerous prizes.

This street art intervention is part of the 1Planet4All project, led by PIN and funded by the European Union. It is taking place in 12 European countries and aims to raise awareness among young people about climate change by encouraging action to tackle global issues and challenges.

The street paintings have been created in agreement with the owners of the facades and are in accordance with local laws and regulations. The space at Florenc has been made available by the Prague Public Transit Company.

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Autor: Člověk v tísni

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