Artistic SDGs (play on words ODD and ODE which doesn't work in English, sorry!)

How does art shed light on the SDGs?

The artist draws his inspiration from the landscapes, shapes and colours of nature, while nature itself reveals itself as a priceless work of art. In this harmonious union lies the potential of art to serve the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which aim to build a more equitable, sustainable and prosperous future for all.

Art is a form of expression that transcends linguistic and cultural barriers. It can capture the beauty, fragility and diversity of nature in a unique way. Paintings, sculptures, photography and other art forms have the power to raise awareness of the richness of our natural environment. They remind us that nature is more than a resource to be exploited, it is a treasure to be preserved.

I've chosen a few artists who are helping to raise awareness.


September 2nd 2006, 2006, Installation. Photo Oak Taylor-Smith, Zhao Zhao

I was lucky enough to see this incredible installation in Beijing (art district).

Gu Dexin presents hundreds of apples spread out in front of a steamroller to denounce the tonnes of fruit and vegetables that farmers destroy when prices are too low.

En Chine, la pomme représente la bonne santé, la paix et l’harmonie familiale.

Les pommes pourrissent sur place… libre à l’interprétation de chacun.


A small tribute to 10 women who have fought/are fighting to express their ideas in art throughout history. The list could be much longer, of course...

  1. Frida Kahlo Mexican artist known for her powerful self-portraits and her exploration of pain, femininity and identity.
  2. Artemisia Gentileschi Italian Renaissance artist known for her dramatic paintings, often centred on powerful women from biblical and mythological history.
  3. Yayoi Kusama Japanese artist who contributed to the pop art movement and is famous for her psychedelic works of art, particularly her pea installations.
  4. Marina Abramović Performance artist renowned for her provocative and often physically demanding work.
  5. Kara Walker American artist who uses the silhouette to explore themes of race, gender and identity in post-slavery America.
  6. Barbara Kruger Visual artist and feminist known for her powerful text collages and installations.
  7. Niki de Saint Phalle French artist known for her colourful, playful sculptures, notably her famous Nanas.
  8. Tamara de Lempicka Polish artist who was active during the Roaring Twenties and is known for her art deco style and elegant portraits.
  9. Coco Chanel Although she is best known as a fashion icon, Coco Chanel also had a significant impact on the art world through her clothing designs.

10 – Louise Bourgeois

Il parle, elle parlotte
Il joue à la bourse, elle boursicotte
Il cuisine, elle popotte
Il tousse, elle toussotte
Il vit, elle vivotte
Pour son pote elle est idiote
Avec son pote, elle dansotte. »

That says it all. Louise Bourgeois, the power of her works, the power of her words...

Maman, Bronze, 1999
Photo de Louise Bourgeois, artiste française
Louise Bourgeois, New York, 1982 ©Getty – Jack Mitchell


Some artists also take the trouble to question the animal world, as in this exhibition.

Bears that walk on tiles and elephants that evaporate...

Now in Paris, Centre Pompidou

The subject is so vast and fascinating that I'll have the opportunity to discuss the other SDGs in future articles. Don't hesitate to let me know if you're interested.

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