Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada creates large-scale portraiture in order to inspire social change, realizing his work as both urban murals and images within the natural landscape. Created specifically for Lands End, Forest Focus draws attention to climate change and the fight by Indigenous peoples to save their lands. Rodriguez-Gerada’s stylized rendering of the human eye—arching green foliage, with the Amazon positioned as the pupil—subverts the logo of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 13 on Climate Action: “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.” The Amazon (along with other rainforests and living ecosystems) is essential for the survival of our planet, and for the Indigenous peoples who inhabit and defend it; it is also increasingly imperiled by burning and deforestation, driven by industry and economic interests, at a rate and scale that political bodies seem unwilling to alter. Forest Focus asks if we can truly wait for decisive action to come from the top, and celebrates those at the frontline of grassroots environmental action.
Forest Focus, 2021; vinyl decal. Part of the exhibition Lands End, organized by FOR-SITE. Image courtesy FOR-SITE. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick.
Jorge Rodrigruez-Gerada was a founding figure in the Culture Jamming movement in the 1990s. Today, his socially motivated urban murals and terrestrial interventions are designed to raise awareness and discourse around contemporary social issues, including climate change, labor practices, and racial inequities. His murals can be found in Barcelona, Beirut, Buenos Aires, London, New York, and Paris.