• Art
  • 1 November 2021

Making A Difference At COP26

Today marks the start of COP26,  an annual meeting of around 175 leaders and scientific advisors, who have a shared goal to…

Today marks the start of COP26,  an annual meeting of around 175 leaders and scientific advisors, who have a shared goal to tackle climate change. 

The work of Cranleigh’s Artist and Teacher, Mr Mark Weighton, will be showcased at this week’s COP26 summit. The work, entitled Burnt Trees, is a beautiful and stark reminder of climate fragility. Made from recycled and reclaimed plastic, his amazing installation can be seen sitting outside the Glasgow Science Centre and will remain for the duration of the conference.

The sculpture represents a fire-ravaged forest but also carries a message of hope, both in its pattern and clever use of colour, and because it is entirely made from recycled materials.

Mr Weighton hopes to be able to tour the piece when the conference finishes. For almost 30 years he has been creating artworks that explore the interconnected nature of existence, using his signature intricate patterns on large-scale works.

‘Burnt Wood’ represents five charred trees rising from a barren block landscape, while integral patches of bright green emerge from the burnt timber indicating all might not yet be completely lost to the climate crisis inferno. 

Mr Weighton, Head of Outreach as well as Art Teacher says he hopes ‘Burnt Wood’ will prove an enjoyable social focal point for the conference. Whether caused by ‘slash and burn’ agriculture, climatic conditions or carelessness, forest fires decimate biodiversity and add huge amounts of CO2 to Earth’s rapidly warming atmosphere. Once thriving fertile environments are left barren, and rich soil erodes. Earth itself struggles to support life, symbolised by the trees, which stand in the sculpture as little more than totemic, charred skeletons. However, the natural world generously strives to renew itself regardless of human influence, and the bright green cores of the scorched tree branches and trunks might offer signs of hope for the future, dependent on humanity’s collective endeavour to think and act in a way that respects and benefits all.”

The sculpture is made from Smartawood®, which is 100% recycled from rejected mixed plastic packaging waste. “Many of my sculptures are delicate ‘hands-off’ affairs, but this is robustly people friendly and I hope to see many COP26 conference visitors sitting on it, drinking fair trade coffee and discussing the issues of the day.”

COP26, the 26th UN Climate Change Conference, will be held in Glasgow from October 31st to November 12th and will bring all political parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Mr Weighton will stay in Glasgow to present his work during the conference.

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