Launched in November 2022, Artists | Ideas | Now is a new 8-part podcast series talking to artists from Egypt and of Egyptian heritage about climate, crisis, environment, protest and change.
Review by Erin Waks
As Egypt hosted COP27 in 2022, global leaders flocked to Sharm el Sheik to discuss the most contentious issue of the day – the climate. While political leaders debated the way forward in dealing with the crisis, Liverpool Arab Arts Festival set up a new podcast, interviewing artists, performers and more. The focus? How art and artistic expression can play a role in combatting the climate crisis.
The overwhelming message is clear: artists and the creative sector have a responsibility to use their platform to spread awareness of the severity of the crisis. Yasmine El Rashidi, for example, spoke of the agency of the individual and how artists can use their work to demonstrate accountability, shedding light on the causes and dangers of the climate crisis. Similarly poignant, Aya Tarek posited that art can be the best way to deliver a clear and simple message that can be easily understood.
What was notable about the podcast was its ability to get to the heart of how art, music and dance can allow us to connect with our environments. As such, this connection can engender a truly passionate desire to eradicate the damage and destruction of climate change. Adham Faramawy talked about understanding the nature of the place in which he lives to grasp the tangible impact history, particularly colonial history, has had on his own life and the planet. On a similar note, Yara Mekawei’s interview about her music and sound work was revealing; in her work, she aims to capture the sound of a city, in her case, Cairo. She argues that a journey through sound permits us to hear the world around us. To hear the impact global environmental change is having on our environment. When we connect with the impact of the climate crisis on an individual, emotional level, we become more inclined to take it seriously – which is paramount.
This idea of connection is primordial to the podcasts argument. When we engage people in these issues, Sarah Rifaat says in her episode on community, they feel as though they have a place in this realm. Climate change is everyone’s issue, and outreach work is what can allow the whole population to embrace their role in combatting it. That is why Nadine Abdel Ghaffar runs outreach events with children as part of her work, and why Hazem Header runs dance festivals for global audiences.
Art, then, becomes a central axis upon which change can occur. Artists Ideas Now is a thought provoking and undoubtedly relevant insight into the role the arts can play in combatting the global climate crisis. Revolution can take place on a global scale if everyone is engaged – and artistic expression might be the best way to achieve this.
You can listen to the podcast here.