Make a Forest: Environmental awareness meets creativity

Inspired by the declaration of 2011 as the International Year of Forests by the United Nations, Anne van der Zwaag and Joanna van der Zandan initiated "Make a Forest," a global, collaborative art and design project that combines sustainable awareness and creativity.

Simply because forests need our attention, Van der Zwaag and van der Zandan see the Year of Forests as an opportunity to engage cultural institutions and artists in this particular environmental issue through art and design. 

The goal of this project is to create a culturally diverse forest and raise awareness of the natural, cultural, and symbolic value of forests. Designers, artists and other creative people from around the world are invited to help create this virtual forest by designing an artificial tree. 

The online platform functions as a meeting place where all tree-making activities are announced, reported, and made visible.

At the moment there are 25 participants from around the world - a network of culturally diverse people from all kinds of disciplines. 

In Amsterdam, the second year students of the AMFI Amsterdam Fashion Institute launched the "Flashmob Tree" project. By installing trees on places where people do not normally think about nature, they hope to bring nature closer to the modern city life. 

In Singapore, Nanyang Technological University (School of Art, Design and Media) took part by incorporating the project into the syllabus of Visual Communication programme. Students were asked to create typographic trees, such as one below:

Art can be a powerful tool to address environmental issues. In fact, environmental art is an emerging trend that generates public awareness and encourages people to start paying attention to the conservation of natural resources. 

Through creativity, Make a Forest calls contemporary artists, designers and the public to make a tribute to the diversity of our forests as well as to response to the need of preserving and protecting them. 

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Ayu Mashita


Ayu Mashita

Former Lifestyle Editor of IamExpat, music enthusiast, social media aficionado and brand strategist in the making :)

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