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  • Writer's pictureARTE.M

"THE WAVE OF CHANGE – New Eco Art Installation in Urban Art in Funchal"

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

Have you ever wondered how much plastic is floating in our oceans and the devastating impact it has on marine life and our future? According to scientists, there are currently over 171 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the world's oceans.

Plastic pollution is getting closer to us, to people. It washes up on our shores and beaches every day. On International Coastal Cleanup Day-Sept. 18, several associations from Madeira Ocean devotion Madeira+Losobonda+Greener Act +Poiomar gathered to clean up the litter on Madalena do Mar beach. Much of the trash was sorted on the spot and sent for recycling. However, the problem persists as new plastic bottles and bags ended up on the beach the very next day. It's a continuous challenge and a reflection of our relationship with nature. The participants of the campaign wanted to create something that could visually represent the importance and depth of the issue. Our art association came up with the idea of Art Eco installation -"Wave of change" in response to the question Can Art Save the World?

Our art heroes-Sanja, Karolina and Mericia

This familiar question resonates with us, as art can be a powerful tool to convey the message of sustainability in the world. This idea underpinsour international project nARTure_2030 supported by the Erasmus+ program, in which we collaborate with partners Misiones Salesianas from Spain and The High Mountains from Greece.

During one of the beach clean-up events in Funchal, organized by the associations ARTE.M

During one of the beach clean-up in Madalena do Mar, 18.09.2023

So, what can we do?

One possible solution is to minimize our use of plastic, a call echoed by numerous environmental organizations. To address this we decided to create an eco art installation with a message encouraging people to reduce their daily plastic consumption and practice responsible sorting.

We chose a wall in the heart of Funchal, near a construction site, recognizing that plastic installations cannot be permanent. Instead, they serve as a powerful, momentary call to action. In just a few months of our eco mural's existence, we aim to convey this message to thousands. Our mural is located on a bustling street in old Funchal, right across from a university residence, ensuring it reaches the young and those who see making the world cleaner as a crucial task for the future.

The mural was created by several volunteer artists from our association and participants of the ArtHubMadeira summer residency. What do they think?

Karolina Jankiewicz is a student born in 2000 in Poznań, Poland.She is our volunteer, a member of the Erasmus Intership program and one of the most active participants of our summer residency ARThubMadeira on Madeira Island.

"Our installation Inspired by Hokusai's "The Great Wave," it presents the timeless beauty of art and its ability to transcend boundaries and inspire us to make a positive difference in the world. Our “wave” embody the belief that art can be both beautiful and educational. Composed entirely out of garbage found on a beach, it presents a vivid contrast between the breathtaking beauty of nature and the consequences of human pollution.

Think, It implores each resident of Madeira to rethink their relationship with the environment, urging us all to be more mindful of our impact on the world around us. Yet, it offers another reflection as well; it embodies the possibility of renewal. Every reclaimed piece of plastic, each bottle cap, and all the forsaken fragments can be used again in creation of something new. My request to everyone: please remember this planet is all we have for now!" Karolina Jankiewicz

Karolina Jankiewich

Sanja Nikolova, art historian and our volunteer from North Macedonia, we were happy to meet Sanja in the framework of Erasmus Solidarity Corps program.

Sanja Nikolova while working in our association

"Expressing myself concisely has never been my strength. Shortly after starting my volunteering project on Madeira, I became involved in numerous eco projects (especially the Erasmus+ nARTure) and many beach cleanups organized by ARTE.M Association. Despite already considering myself an eco-friendly person, my horizons expanded. So, I'd say my decision to join this installation came naturally. Also, one of my first tasks was to do an interview with the Ocean Devotion team, and I was truly inspired by their dedication. Although I couldn't participate in the beach cleanup in Madalena do Mar, I thought I could still contribute by being a part of creating this installation. Moreover, since it's my last week on the island, it's a wonderful opportunity to leave a positive mark in here.

Madeira isn't just a place; it's a home. And everyone I've met here shares that sentiment, whether they're locals, nomads, or tourists. Regardless of how long you've been here, whether it's been 10 years, 10 days, or even 10 minutes, the island hugs you like a mum. Because it's our home, we must keep it clean. Let's cherish the island's natural beauty and protect it for generations to come" Sanja Nikolova.

Merícia Dantas (, 2000) visual artist from Câmara de Lobos, she has a degree in Drawing from the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Lisbon (FBAUL).

Mericia is also an intern for the Programa Ingress@ on the Direcão de Juventude of Madeira

Merícia Dantas while working on a mural "Wave of change"

"As a resident of Madeira Island, I believe the most visible ecological issue for the entire population is the accumulation of waste, whether in the sea, beaches, rivers, vacant lots, streets, and so on. However, there are other problems such as deforestation, water and air pollution, droughts, uncontrolled urban construction, among others, which contribute to the increasingly noticeable effects of climate change.

Even though sustainable tourism is being promoted, environmental education is being emphasized, and renewable energy is being pursued, I still think there is a lot of work to be done in the region. This mural is just another reminder to the population, as by cleaning up a beach, we demonstrate just one of the several ecological problems that exist and that must be stopped as quickly as possible.

My involvement in this installation aimed to reuse waste and give it a new artistic life. Clearly, there is a message we intend to convey, which is visible to everyone, the pollution of our ecosystem is slowly killing all the unique nature that characterizes the island, that's why, it is crucial to start taking action today" Merícia Dantas.

Portuguese newspapers about our project

We express our gratitude to our project partners and the Erasmus program for funding our activities.

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