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Artist to work with Tuvalu on climate project

TAIPEI--A local artist said recently that he is planning to launch a project with Tuvalu on the sidelines of a climate summit in Doha to highlight the threat of rising sea levels caused by global warming.

Vincent J.F. Huang, who visited the South Pacific island nation in mid-September to create installation artworks on beaches there, told CNA in a recent interview that his eco-arts project has been warmly welcomed by the Tuvalu government.

“They sent a message” of willingness to jointly launch an arts project during a U.N. climate change conference set to take place in Doha Nov. 26-Dec. 7, Huang said after meetings with top government officials in Tuvalu.

During a four-day stay in Tuvalu that began Sept. 17, Huang and his crew set up an installation that consisted of a fuel truck nozzle tied in a knot on a beach. The 4-meter-long, 2-meter-high artwork also featured an image of a polar bear relaxing in a hammock.

It symbolizes the end of the world's reliance on oil and a move back toward a life of simplicity, Huang said.

Another of Huang's installations, set up in waters off the island country's coastline, featured images of polar bears squeezed into oil drums, a concept inspired by oil giant Royal Dutch Shell's plan to drill for oil in the Arctic.

Oil exploration causes environmental damage and continued global warming could put Tuvalu in an even more precarious situation as a result of rising sea levels, the 41-year-old artist said.

Governor-General Sir Iakoba Taeia Italeli of Tuvalu expressed gratitude for Huang's concern on the issue of climate change and his efforts to draw attention to the fact that Tuvalu would be one of the first victims of a rise in sea levels as a result of global warming.

“I think this kind of assistance is so important to us,” the governor-general said in a video in which he commented on Huang's project.

Huang's art project in Tuvalu coincided with a visit to the islands by the UK's Prince William and his wife Sept. 18-19, which the artist said would help his work gain more international media attention.

During a previous trip to Tuvalu in 2010, the artist waded out to a reef on the country's main island, where he erected a small sculpture of a desiccated mermaid made of dried coconut shells and pieces of palm trees.

The figure of the dried Little Mermaid represents what he sees as the failure of the Copenhagen climate summit in late 2009, Huang said.

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