Road to COP27: Murals in Iloilo City and Isabela City unveiled to demand urgent climate actions from world leaders

Murals were unveiled today in Iloilo City in Iloilo and Isabela City in Basilan to demand decisive and transformative actions from world leaders meeting this November during the 27th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.


The murals marked the launch of Poets for Climate, a collaborative project among the branches of Climate Reality in the Philippines, Africa, and Canada in support of the When Is Now campaign, a global poetry and arts movement organized by the Climate Vulnerable Forum, Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, and Agam Agenda.

When Is Now links together poems, visual art, murals, and more forms of creative expression that reflect people’s lived experiences of the climate crisis. 

“To contribute to When Is Now, we will conduct a series of pebble poem workshops that will harness the diverse languages and points of view of climate advocates in Canada, Africa, and the Philippines to generate short but compelling poems that  will amplify the call for world leaders to address the vicious cycle of loss and damage in climate-vulnerable countries,” said Nazrin Castro, Manager of Climate Reality Philippines.

Seasoned poets, including prolific African activist and writer Nnimmo Bassey, will serve as mentors during the workshops scheduled every Friday of August.

“More than ever, we need storytelling, arts, and the humanities to generate new ways of responding to the ecological crisis we all face, and which disproportionately impacts marginalized peoples the most while bearing the least responsibility for climate change. Artists and writers can help us reimagine the ways we act on climate, in solidarity with those who are most vulnerable,” said Padmapani L. Perez, Lead Strategist for Creative Collaboration of the Agam Agenda.

Poems written during the pebble poem workshops will be featured in an exhibit on the sidelines of COP27 in Egypt and simultaneous projections on different sites in the Philippines, Canada, and South Africa. They will also be showcased in When Is Now’s digital exhibition

The mural in Iloilo is located at the Marymart Center-Maryville in Delgado Street, Iloilo City. Contributing muralists are Marrz Capanang, Rey Gico, Sasha Cabais, Zak Bravo, and Stevenson Cordova.

Iloilo City, Iloilo: Lisó (Seed/ Veer)

The Poets for Climate mural located at the Marymart Center-Maryville in Delgado Street, Iloilo City was created by Artivism Iloilo, a collective of artists, social innovators, and unconventional movers working to bring engaging collaborative art to the heart of communities and unlikely locations.

The mural in Iloilo City was a response to the poem “When will we tire of waiting?” by South African-based novelist Yewande Omotoso, as featured in When Is Now’s digital exhibition.

Explaining the concept behind the mural, Kristine Buenavista of Artivism Iloilo said, “The sprout represents our dream–of nourishment, enrichment, and sustenance through the growth and reach of this seed, this consciousness. We used “kintsugi” or golden repair to highlight our yearning for ecological healing.”

The mural in Basilan is located at the Tourism Assistance Center, James Walter Strong Boulevard, Port Area, Isabela de Basilan. Contributing muralists are: Antonio Francisco III, Abdurahman Basri, Ivan Roy Cuevas, Joevan Kali, and Sheilla Mae Gahilomo.

Isabela City, Basilan: “Goyak sin Kasa bannalan” (Waves of Reality) 

In Basilan, the mural was created by art collective PintaGuhit Isabela City. Responding to the poem When Is Now by Nanditha Ram Satagopan, the mural depicts the beauty of the environment until people severed it and took it for granted.

Responding to the poem “When Is Now” by Nanditha Ram Satagopan, the Basilan mural depicts the beauty of the environment until people severed it and took it for granted.

“We must not be stuck in an image that we can relive the memory of the past. We must focus on fixing this present that we’re in and hopefully, we can provide a much better future. But when,” PintaGuhit asked world leaders.

The mural in South Africa is located on the corners of Robert and Empress streets in Kensington, Johannesburg. Contributing muralists are Dionne MacDonald, Ayanda Ogqoyi, Alfredo Gambali, and Bronwyn Krige.

More murals in the lead-up to COP27

Aside from the ones in Iloilo City and Isabela De Basilan, murals were also unveiled in Johannesburg, South Africa and Québec, Canada.
Climate Reality will explore partnerships with more local artists in the coming months to produce not just murals but other forms of artistic expression communicating the urgency and solvability of the climate crisis.
“A mural in Baguio City is already in the works. We’ve partnered with artist Bong Sanchez to unveil a Poets for Climate mural in the city,” Castro said.

The murals in Canada are located at 3832 rue Wellington, Verdun Québec. They were created by Tsoko and Louis Letters (top left), Sam 19 and Moule (top right), La barquette (bottom left), and Gallium (bottom right).