One ginormous world issue that has both environmental and social impacts is deforestation, the Amazonia rainforest covers many countries within the South American continent such as Peru and Colombia, although the majority of the forest sits within Brazil. The Amazon is considered to be the most biodiverse rainforest on the planet, however, in recent years deforestation in the Amazon has increased majorly, and there is not just one contributing factor to it. There are both legal and illegal industries which have contributed to this world issue, one of the main contributors is agricultural such as cattle farming, coca, and soya bean plantations. David Salisbury the author of the academic text “Overcoming Marginality on the Margins: Mapping, Logging and Coca in the Amazon Borderlands” states that “if unofficial border patrol makes a case that titling indigenous territories could help slow illegal logging and logging-related deforestation.”(Salisbury 283) Essentially he is discussing that social problems within these countries are the main reason people resort to deforestation and gaining income illegally, he suggests that to solve this world issue changes within society will need to be made. Deforestation is an ever growing issue as “Amozian cattle production increased at ten times the rate of the rest of the country”(Hoelle 20), areas around the Amazon remain unprotected to a degree, so farmers have room to expand.
Setu Legi is unquestionably one notable visual thinker and visual activist when it comes to expressing concern of issues regarding deforestation. The way he has responded to such a large scale issue is by producing a series of physical mixed media artworks. Out of all of the artwork that Legi has created one key piece that inspired my creative work is known as Branded Trees, this key piece is so important as Legi boldly identifies the large scale corporations that are contributing to the absolute annihilation of natural forests and jungles. He is a visual activist speaking through that piece of art to the viewer suggesting that if they continue to be consumers for these agencies, deforestation will continue globally. One way that Legi has made this piece of art effective is by placing brand names onto the cardboard trees themselves, suggesting that primarily corporations are taking advantage of a natural element that we as humanity desperately need to survive and turning it into a product for profit. Setu Legi has served as a primary influence on the visual text that has been created, it shows that I am a visual activist much like Setu, Mirzoeff states that “visual activism is the interaction of pixels and actions to make change” (Mirzoeff 214). The piece that has been created is intended to change they way the audience thinks about the products they purchase and to be aware of the different industries that contribute to deforestation in the Amazon.
Here is the visual text created which responds to the world issue of deforestation in the Amazon, it consists of a mixed media style much like Setu Legi, making use of both watercolour and fine tip pen. The central idea for the image is to show the audience this idea of cause and effect; this has been done by the illustrations of the different industries that contribute to deforestation of the Amazon and the illustrations of what the impact of this deforestation is locally and also globally. The various sketches sit within framed areas of the central focus which is a tree stump with a hatchet in it, just to show what felled the tree. The roots act as frames for each smaller illustration, near the top of the small frames soya bean, coca, pollution, and cattle farming has been shown through different symbols. Near the bottom, the different images symbolise extinction, endangerment of species such Spix’s Macaw there only around seventy left, and they are all kept in captivity as of present, “these gorgeous, long-lived, highly social, big parrots are all threatened by deforestation” (Ehrlich et al. 61). Deforestation also causes loss of biodiversity in the soil and supports the rising global temperatures. The reason for the images being placed in such a way is to show a clear link between industry and destruction. The aim of the visual text is to show what the overall consequences are for everyone globally if deforestation continues in the Amazon.
Mirzoeff, Nicholas. How to See the World. London: Pelican, 2015. Google Play. Web. 4 June 2016.
Ehrlich, Anne H., et al. The Annihilation of Nature: Human Extinction of Birds and Mammals. Baltimore: JHU Press, 2015. Google Play. Web. 4 June 2016.
Hoelle, Jeffery. Rainforest Cowboys: The Rise of Ranching and Cattle Culture in Western Amazonia. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2015. Google Play. Web. 4 June 2016.
Salisbury, David Seward. Overcoming Marginality on the Margins: Mapping, Logging and Coca in the Amazon Borderlands. May. 2007. The University of Texas Libraries. Web. 4 June 2016.