skip to main content

Growing Awareness of Sustainability Through Art

Published date
24 Jul 2018

Developed in creative partnership with Jorge Orta as Lucy + Jorge Orta, uses art as an agent for awareness and change on issues of sustainability. Major national and international exhibitions ensure their work and its message reaches a wide audience.


OrtaWater highlights the global scarcity of water and the privatisation and corporate control that effects access to clean water. Work from this series has been exhibited worldwide, at the Venice Biennale (2005), Austrian Pavilion International Expo, Zaragoza, Spain (2008), and as part of the 9thShanghai Biennale where the OrtaWater Purification Factory (2012) drew water from Shanghai’s polluted Huangpu river, then purifing it for visitors to drink.

In 2007 OrtaWater won the Green Leaf Award for artistic excellence with an environmental message, presented by the UN Environment Programme in partnership with the Natural World Museum at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway.


The series Clouds grew out of OrtaWater, and focuses on the plastic bottle with its multiple ecological, economic and social meanings. Clouds:Meteoros, two monumental suspended cloud sculptures, were the winning pieces in the ‘Terrace Wires’ international competition, replacing the Olympic Rings in St Pancras Station and seen by 24 million visitors.


The body of work Antarctica highlights Antarctica’s special pacific status as the only unclaimed landmass on earth, with a message of welcome for those fleeing conflict or environmental catastrophes. Since 2008, members of the public have been invited to visit installations of Antarctica World Passport Bureau and are issued with ‘passports’ and commit to becoming ‘citizens’ of a no-borders community, in a bid to stimulate exchange and create awareness of our responsibilities in the global community.

A new iteration of the Antarctica World Passport Bureau was commissioned, for the Southbank’s 2012 Festival of the World, and forty-four Antarctic Métisse Flags flew from the roof of the Royal Festival Hall, during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and London Olympic Games.


Lucy + Jorge Orta’s exhibition Amazonia (2010) was commissioned by the National History Museum to coincide with the International Year of Biodiversity, and drew attention to the thousands of species that depend on the eco-equilibrium of the Amazon. Associated with this work is the ongoing public engagement project, Perpetual Amazonia10,000 plots = 10,000 posters, in which the public can take away a Perpetual Amazoniaposter in exchange for a financial contribution towards the preservation of the metre-square plot it represents.

Other national and international group and solo exhibitions include:

  • Food Water Life, The Johnson Museum, Cornell University, USA and Parc de la Villette Paris, France (2014);
  • Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, UK (2013);
  • Spirits of the Huveanue, City of Marseille, France (2013);
  • Self Unself, Van Abbemuseum, Einhoven, Netherlands (2013);
  • Spirits | Fabulae Romanae, MAXXI – National Museum of XXI Century Arts, Rome, Italy (2012);
  • GSK Contemporary, Aware:  Art, Fashion, Identity, Royal Academy of Arts, London (2010).

In 2008 Orta was invited to become a member of the European Cultural Parliament.

Related links