The idea was to use Art to initiate positive change, as the political debate on Palm Oil continues to escalate, now more than ever we need to be informed on the issues to encourage steps towards why sustainability is and should be a common goal. 

In 2015, a Guardian news article claimed 500,000 people suffered respiratory infections as a direct result of the toxic smoke released during slash and burn, the quickest and cheapest way to clear the land for new plantations in Indonesia. Having spent much time in the region photographing, travelling and painting; Ernest began researching the issues independently. Finding little about the cause and affect, he spent the next 2 years visiting Sumatra directly.  During this time Ernest has consulted with experts in the field, active NGOs, members of the community and visited rehabilitation sites for wildlife. 

After a year of planning (and a limited edition print sale which produced the funds necessary to get started) Ernest and a selection of artists who had all donated their time and creativity to the cause; all flew to Medan. The Orangutan Information Centre briefed every participant on the adverse affects of unsustainable palm oil production. After learning more about the issues and spending time with the local communities, the artists set about responding creatively in the urban landscape, producing their visual commentary to the on going debate through paint, sculpture and installation. 

We’ve had an overwhelming positive reaction from people in the landscapes where the Splash and Burn installations have appeared. These are the people who are most severely affected by the choking haze from forest fires, from flooding and drought when the fragile balance of the ecosystem is destroyed by forest clearance. We’ve seen that art can start conversations, and inspire a desire to be part of the solution. It’s a powerful tool.
— Helen Buckland - Director of the Sumatran Orangutan Society

Indonesia is the worlds largest exporter of Palm Oil. The commodity has long been a controversial issue, receiving much media attention in peak moments of crisis but very little in the months between the burning seasons. With global consumption increasing beyond the need to conserve our impact on our environment and communities, Splash and Burn aims to introduce a new perspective to the conversation on unsustainable palm oil. Using art as a tool, we suggest bridging the gap between the corruption surrounding the industry and the wider consciousness of the global consumer.

Splash and Burn is a project curated by Ernest Zacharevic and Coordinated by Charlotte Pyatt it serves as an awareness campaign for the efforts of the Sumatran Orangutan Society and the Orangutan Information Centre