Picturing the Future We Want

Picturing the Future We Want is a collaborative, cross-cultural art project that uses printmaking to raise awareness about climate change through the views of those most affected by it - today's youth. Two printmaking workshops—one in Oslo, Norway and one in Nairobi, Kenya—connected young people in these two different parts of the world to share their perspectives on the climate emergency with each other and with a wider audience through the public dissemination of their posters both online and through exhibitions in Oslo and Nairobi. 

Education is key to creating sustainable futures, but the ways that children learn about climate change in school is often focused on the natural sciences to explain the greenhouse effect, increasing temperatures, rising sea levels and changes in weather patterns. Whilst these facts are important for youth to understand, such an educational approach can foment fear and hopelessness amongst youth and undermine active engagement in the issues. Art is a powerful tool for developing meaningful connections that lead to learning as well as inspire activism. 

As an art form, woodcut is the oldest kind of printmaking and has been used in modern history to create posters as means of protest or proclamation. Picturing the Future We Want seeks to activate the imagination of young people in Norway and Kenya through art to reflect on their own experiences with climate change and imagine a more sustainable future for the planet they are inheriting. 

The first set of workshops took place in April 2022 at the Nairobi National Museum and the second set of workshops were in October 2022 at Biblo Tøyen, a public library for youth in Oslo.

During the workshops at the Nairobi National Museum, we used wood boards and oil-based inks to create woodcut prints because these are the only materials available in Kenya. At the Biblo workshops in Oslo, we used a softer vinyl board and water-based inks to create linocut prints, which were easier for the young artists to manipulate. 

Picturing the Future We Want in Nairobi and Oslo was made possible  by a Globus Oppstart grant from the Nordic Cultural Fund and support from the Scheibler Foundation.

Gallery of prints made by young artists in Nairobi and Oslo