book1.jpg

Deadly Lake Natron Turns Animals into Ghostly Statues

The Middle East boasts some of the world’s saltiest waterbodies, but none approach the horror of Lake Natron in Tanzania, one of the harshest environments on the planet.  It’s hot, chalky waters can turn birds and land animals into calcified statues, spookily captured by photographer Nick Brandt in his new book, Across the Ravaged Land.

refutrees.jpg

Refutrees Scratches Eco and Social Itches with Refugee Projects

Today is World Refugee Day. Some good news for a change: Refutrees is a new non-profit that’s turning the traditional aid-centric model of development on its head. These self-described “creativity agents” place particular focus on people displaced over the long-term. They’re currently working on projects for Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank and Lebanon.

Pras-bernard-che-560x5691.jpg

Bernard Pras: Spot the Upcycled Objects in this Art

Using only upcycled objects, French artist Bernard Pras reinterprets iconic images through the art of anamorphosis. Relying on old trash gathered near his installation sites, Bernard Pras from France assembles clothes and rags, wood, old record albums, dishes, broken toys (and anything else he can grab) to re-interpret pop-culture images. It’s far from ad hoc: […]

lamp-nest-eco-art-Tel-Aviv.jpg

Studio Sfog in Tel Aviv Makes Recycling an Art Form

We love the creative eco design coming out of Tel Aviv. Israel faces nationwide challenges of mismanaged waste and insufficient recycling infrastructure, but from the deserts of Morocco to the streets of Tel Aviv, artists like Yotam Shifroni and Gidi Gilam are seeking solutions through creativity. Around four months ago, Shifroni and Gilam opened Studio Sfog in Tel Aviv. Sfog means “sponge” […]

Maryellen-Croteau-artist1.jpg

Garbage Art Ideas from Mary Ellen Croteau

Plastic bottle cap picture by Mary Ellen Croteau The caps are synthetic artifacts, plastic products that usually aren’t (and more often, can’t be) recycled.  Self-described political artist Mary Ellen Croteau explores absurdities of social norms, exposing the “underlying bias and sexist assumptions on which culture is constructed. So says her website, but her amazing artworks also […]

Knitted-Seder-Plate.jpeg

Knitting a Tree for Middle East Peace

Armed with knitting needles, Israelis and Palestinians are knitting for peace! The TikkunTree Project is a community knittivist art project dedicated to advocacy of peace between Israelis and Palestinians. This ambitious community art project is growing a tree, an enormous knitted tree whose fiber leaves and fruits and branches will shelter doves made of yarn: […]

Market-338-in-Bahrain.jpg

Bahrain’s Temporary Market 338 Beats Out Glitzy Shopping Malls

Despite the many stereotypes about residents of Gulf countries, many people prefer creative, sustainable boutiques to shopping in big glitzy malls, though their options are typically fairly limited. Which might explain why Bahrain’s Market 338 has become such a popular destination. Inaugurated by Al Riwaq Art Space, the temporary souq in Manama’s Adliya district started with […]

rith.jpg

Eco-Art Gift Ideas for Sandy Claus

Whether your sandy reminiscences are wet or dry, two artists have devised ways to make your memories tangible. My brain inextricably links sand to sea thanks to 25 summers spent on a New Jersey barrier island. Middle East experiences have me now connecting the grainy stuff to locations and memories largely devoid of water, such […]

mud-brick-spiral-elin-hansdottir-1.jpg

Mud and Mirrors Make Interactive Eco-Art in Morocco

Icelandic artist Elín Hansdóttir has combined mud and mirrors in this unusual interactive eco-art exhibit for Morocco. Designed as part of the Marrakech Biennale earlier this year, the earthy installation features pillars of mud and straw organized into a spiral design that is then fronted with mirrors that reflect the exhibit itself and the surroundings.

art-with-a-green-conscience.jpg

6 Groundbreaking Art Projects With an Eco-Conscience

Art has a way of jarring our perspective. Here are 6 groundbreaking projects that are changing the way people in the Middle East relate to their environment. Just today we read about an Egyptian artist who has spread her creative wings since Mubarak’s fall only to have them clipped again by increasing powerful Islamist groups. […]

acco-akko-acre-israel1.jpg

Acre Father Aims to Make His Capital Green

Ilan Suisa, a father of four from Akko (Acre), aspires to make his ancient hometown the environmental activism capital of Israel. According to news reports he has even changed his name to “Ilan Green-Suisa.” Over time, Green-Suisa convinced the Akko municipality to place forty recycling bins throughout the city: “Akko won the first place in Israel for recycling,” […]

Guy-Lougashi.jpg

Guy Lougashi Fashions Amazing Sculptures Out of Tape

Guy Lougashi makes incredible sculptures entirely out of either colored or transparent tape. Eschewing the hardening or drying phase of many sculptural materials such as clay or paper pulp, the artist claims that tape is an incredibly versatile material that forms an excellent foundation for other design projects. And now it’s possible to glean some […]

ankara-dams3.jpg

Turkey’s Early Hydroelectric Dams Featured in Exhibit

The first hydroelectric dam built in Ankara, Turkey’s capital city, the Çubuk Dam was promoted as “Ankara’s Bosphorus”. A new exhibit at Istanbul’s avant-garde SALT Galata gallery, Graft, throws open the archive of material about Turkey’s first major hydroelectric projects in the 1930s. The display critically analyzes the motives behind these early endeavors — and the […]

treehuggers-iran-deforestation-1.jpg

Iranian Artists Fight Smog with the Tehran Monoxide Project

Iranian environmental activists and artists are getting bolder. Recently, “tree huggers” planted these stumps on a street in the city of Kerman to protest against deforestation. Sometimes environmental activists are visionary people who take enormous personal risks. Ashley Fruno from PETA was arrested for parading around Jordan covered in nothing but lettuce. Bill McKibben and […]