Art and the Apocalypse

Recently I have been feeling called to get back into making art. Particularly, I have been feeling called to use my art as a vehicle to wake more people up to the urgency of our biospheric crisis. For a few years now I’ve mainly been focused on nonfiction writing, communication on social media, and speaking/writing directly to elected officials and other influencers. Now I’m feeling nudged to add creative art into my activism.

Since I am very much of a social-media critter, this art-deployment will also include sharing the work of other artist-activists who are on a similar path of using their art as a vehicle for waking folks up to the reality of biospheric collapse.

In that vein, today I want to share with you a post by a fellow artist and Deep Adaptation group member named Jessie Ngaio. They shared this in the Deep Adaptation group but also posted it publicly on their own page (along with a beautiful visual). I’m quoting just some of it here, and am including links to their pages so you can read the full post, check out more of their art, and support their work if you choose.

“Last night, after reading about the IPCC report on the climate crisis, my heart was racing and I felt sick and dizzy with fear. Rather than become paralysed, I felt I needed to do something so I painted myself with shaking hands and then I wrote this. …”

“The world is ending. This is a fact that I am no longer going to deny. …”

“Our world is ending and if we don’t act quickly, we will not survive that ending. Some people say this is for the best, that we humans have had our time and we have ruined everything but personally, my heart is full of love for us; we’re baby monkeys who only recently became conscious and so I hope that we do survive and I hope that we evolve. …”

How do I combat the climate despair which plagues me on a daily basis? I focus on the beauty that exists now, I focus on the actions myself and others are taking but most of all, I dream. In my dreams, I see a world that has changed beyond recognition to the one that we are in now. So many of the countries that exist are underwater, massive cities have been swallowed by rising oceans and are gone, populated now only by ghosts and sea creatures. And the land that is above sea is covered in strange new forests that are thrumming with the hum of insects and echoing with the songs of birds. The land has been rewilded, healed through the efforts and dreams and love of a new type of human.

“These new people have learned from the mistakes of their ancestors and so they are not conquerors or narcissists because the only people who survive an apocalypse are people who are able to work together, work communally. And the only people who are able to heal the world after an apocalypse are the people who are able to work with the laws of nature in a mutually beneficial symbiosis… and so these people have become connected to the land they are on, like Indigenous people always have been.”

And if you are like me, which I suspect many people are, your heart aches with the desire for this world to exist. And if your heart aches as mine does, perhaps this indicates something about a beautiful truth of our human nature; we don’t want to destroy life on this planet. We don’t. We’ve lost our way, we’re confused and scared and far from home but our heart knows what we want most: we want to live, we want to love and we want to thrive.

So let’s awaken to the truth in our hearts and start doing what we need to do to prepare for the hard road ahead. We are an incredible species, we have art, we have science, we have social justice, we have music, poetry, medicine, philosophy, psychology, ecology… we have so much. Let’s put it all to use and together, we are powerful.”

This post (which I originally saw because Jessie shared it to the Deep Adaptation group) is so beautifully expressive and so describes the direction in which I am being called recently. Hope you enjoy this as much as I did. Bringing art and joy and beauty and creativity to the task of waking up ourselves and others to the realities of the biospheric collapse we are experiencing. I suspect a lot of us have been finding that this is our path. The ultimate Transformative Adventure includes facing-up to where we have gone off-course. I feel a sweet spot that is not false hope and is not gloom and doom either. For me, this sweet spot is enabled/expressed/conveyed/activated largely by art and creativity.

Here is Jessie Ngaio’s Facebook page; here is the entire post which I have excerpted from above; and here is their website (website is for viewers aged 18 & older)