The Knowledge E Foundation, a registered community interest company, helped raise awareness about the world’s biggest environmental issues by sponsoring a large-scale climate change mural that was unveiled in Alexandria, Egypt, ahead of COP27.
The artwork was commissioned to Rana Hemdan, an Egyptian artist and architect, for The Earth Turns, a climate-inspired bilingual (Arabic and English) performance that sought to highlight the human stories behind climate change.
Installed at the Jesuit Cultural Centre in Alexandria, the mural shows gray buildings, polluted waters, sprawling mountains, and dead fish. On either side of the painting, two large cubistic hands hold all the elements together with the help of a winding green thread. The colourful mural depicts everything from marine pollution to environmental degradation, but at its core, it is a tribute to young people’s tireless fight against climate change.
Hemdan, who has long been fascinated by cubism, said she was inspired by the Sinai Penninsula in Egypt, which is also depicted in her artwork. “I made sure to give the mountains faces so they’re alive and they’re telling us, ‘We’re here, we can feel you polluting us. Please take care of us’.”
The mural and theatrical performance are creative responses to the University of Exeter’s Green Futures project We Still Have a Chance — 12 Stories for 12 Days of COP27. The anthology featured micro-stories created by climate activists, scientists, health professionals, students, and artists from the University of Exeter, Met Office, Ain Shams University, Banlastic, the American University in Cairo, and other organisations.
Professor Ian Fussell, Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education, and academic lead for the We Still Have a Chance project at the University of Exeter, said: “The mural is a beautiful and inspiring piece of art, with a powerful message for people and about the planet. To see it in person, with the rest of the project team, was a humbling moment. And we are delighted to have been able to support this through the broader project, which speaks to the university strategy of creating a greener, healthier, fairer society. The legacy of this artwork and the stories created will open new doors for collaboration between the UK and Egypt.”
The Knowledge E Foundation, which supported the University of Exeter’s initiative, is funded by proceeds from Knowledge E, its parent organisation.
Kamran R. Kardan, the founder and CEO of the Knowledge E Foundation and Knowledge E, said: “The climate crisis is one of the biggest threats to humanity and it’s affecting every single one of us. While it can be easy to feel disheartened or cynical, it’s important to remember that our efforts, however big or small, can make a positive difference, which is exactly what Rana’s mural achieves. Her artwork beautifully shows the impact that climate change has had, but also conveys the need to preserve our land before it’s too late.”