As of late, protest signs are becoming the most iconic way of showcasing creativity while standing up for a cause, but the organizers at PangeaSeed Foundation take the artist-activist game one step further.
PangeaSeed started back in 2009 as the brainchild of Tre' Packard whose diehard love of marine life and documenting the illegal wildlife trade in Asia inspired him to enter the world of ocean conservation. Packard grew up in a family of artists and instinctively knew that he wanted to use his creativity to inspire people to care about marine life and the seas.
"I wanted to do something that was inspiring for a younger generation — my generation — because I felt that a lot of the time, we were left out of the conversation when it came to the preservation of habitat and species," Packard said in an interview with VICE Impact. "We're the ones in line to inherit all these issues."
In 2012, Packard moved stateside from Asia to Honolulu and made PangeaSeed into an official non-profit that has a variety of "artivism " programs that makes the ocean outreach epic. The core team is just Packard and his wife, and everyone else from artists to videographers and more volunteer because they believe in the mission of the foundation.
"It's the opportunity for people to utilize their creativity for what they care about."
"Artivism is that combination of art and activism, and that's kind of what we've been operating under for several years now," Packard said. "It's the opportunity for people to utilize their creativity for what they care about."
PangeaSeed's main form of artivism is their international public art initiative Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans, which raises awareness about pollution, wildlife protection, acidification and other environmental marine issues. Since 2014, Packard and his crew have gone to different cities around the world to recruit volunteer artists to paint murals of underwater-inspired street art.
"Not everybody is going to walk in off the streets to go into a gallery. Sometimes that can be polarizing," Packard said. "Public art has been utilized for centuries to lead revolutions, to spread messaging and information — so we're not necessarily reinventing the wheel. We're just using it in a different context.
Each location is site-specific and requires research from Packard and his team as well as collaboration with local non-profits and government agencies. They also have to find funding for each new project, infrastructure for the installation and the right artists for the work. Throughout the year, PangeaSeed puts on four large-scale installations in various countries and has smaller side projects as well. According to their website, they've created nearly 300 murals in 12 countries around the world.
Packard has a message that he wants the world to know about ocean health and its importance to human activity: "No matter where you live in the world, we're all reliant on the oceans. We're an ocean community. It's going to take everyone working together in tandem to right the wrongs — the stresses that we've put on the ocean."
Sea Wall's latest project from May is a series of murals and installations in Churchill, Manitoba, a sub-arctic region of northern Canada. The art explores polar conservation, climate change, the loss of sea ice and the impact global warming has had on industries. Check out some of the acid-trippy images below.