Hialeah

Addressing climate change through art

Climate change is a real issue facing our world today. Local artist Xavier Cortada and nonprofit organization Honoring the Future are addressing climate change with art.

CLIMA is an exhibit with Cortada’s work and is presented at the Milander Center for Arts and Entertainment until Jan. 29 and features an ancillary exhibit by Honoring the Future.

“Our mission is to harness the power of art and to educate and engage the public on climate change,” said Honoring the Future Director Frances Dubrowski.

The artwork featured around the exhibit are paintings, digital art, drawings, sculptures, photos and a video performance art.

Cortada emphasized the importance of his piece “Testamento.”

On the left side, it shows a will given to a Hialeah resident by her grandfather, leaving her a farm. On the right, it shows her property deed for her house. Only half of the documents are shown because they’re cut off by rising waves.

“She was a political refugee. Here, we’re going to have climate refugees. These words will become waves,” Cortada said on the piece.

According to Cortada, with a four-foot sea level rise, 70 percent of Hialeah is underwater.

“This exhibit helps reframe the issue for Hialeah so that they don’t think climate change is just a coastal problem,” he said.

All around the exhibit are works and mementos that Cortada has done through the years including: drawings of endangered animals at every degree of the eastern hemisphere, digital art on solar panels, photos of his journeys to both the North and South Pole, paintings of endangered animals that will be featured in turnpike stations, digital art work on diatoms and many more.

During Cortada’s trip to the North Pole, he planted a flag. The flag read, “I hereby reclaim this land for nature.”

“I encourage people to plant trees in every single community across Miami-Dade County,” Cortada said.

In addition, there was a panel held every day at the exhibit from Nov. 30 through Dec. 11. The panels each took a different perspective on addressing climate change and ended with an experiential performance with local public school children. Cortada places a memento from each performance in a glass display by the main entrance.

During opening night, as a performance piece, Cortada placed a slab of ice on the main entranceway staircase. It melted throughout the night as a symbol for what is to come.

“I did that as my very opening act as a way of letting society know that it’s not businesses as usual. You can’t create your beautiful South Beach. You can’t imagine the problem away in Hialeah. This chaos is coming to a neighborhood near you,” he said.

There is also a spot where, according to Cortada, there is “the most beautiful environmental artpiece you can create.” He is speaking about a petition that exhibit patrons can sign to bring clean energy and nature to Florida.

“So it’s not just about being educated, it’s not just about being engaged. It’s about passion. And in this case it is about letting your elected officials know what they need to do to mitigate and to adapt and putting initiatives like this on the ballot so that Floridians can have a choice on whether or not they want clean energy,” Cortada added.

Honoring the Future’s exhibit consists of works from 10 different artists including a piece from Cortada called “Ichthys” which was made for the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia.

“These are artists’ takes on how to solve climate change and how we can get involved. Our hope for the exhibition is that it will inspire people to take action,” Dubrowski said.

IF YOU GO

Where: Milander Center for Arts and Entertainment, 4800 Palm Ave., Hialeah, FL 33012

When: Through Jan. 29

Info: 305-827-0681

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