Sustainable Mountain Art (SMArt)

Sustainable Mountain Art (SMArt)

The programme aims at raising awareness about sustainable development issues in mountain regions through art, and more specifically through photography

Sion | Started on 01/07/2014 – Concluded on 30/06/2024

Mountain regions are the world’s water towers, providing drinking water for half the world’s population. They are home to great genetic diversity in terms of flora, fauna, crops and livestock, as well as valuable traditional management practices. However, climate change is having a major impact on mountain regions: glaciers are melting, water supplies are changing and arable land is shrinking. Adding to this is the intensive exploitation of natural resources. Mountain populations are among the world’s poorest and most food-insecure, and therefore also among the most likely to migrate.

Launched in 2014, SMArt is a unique program combining art, sustainable development and international cooperation. The objective of SMArt is double: 1) to raise awareness about the challenges and opportunities of sustainable development in mountain regions through art, and more specifically through photography; 2) recognizing the role of culture as a powerful tool to accompany societies in transition, the programme also seeks to give artists from developing countries a voice in the major global debates. The program exists thanks to a large network of partners in Switzerland and abroad. Every year, 3 to 5 artists from developing countries are invited for a 3 months residency in Switzerland to create an artwork about a sustainable development theme of their choice (climate change, water management, biodiversity, migration, health…). At the end of their residency, their work is exhibited at least once in Switzerland and once in their home country. For each exhibition, a large variety of cultural mediation activities (conferences, workshops, interventions in schools etc.) are organized to discuss the topic addressed by the artist and reach out to the largest audience possible.

Using photography as a means of communication, SMArt creates emotions, forges links, breaks down the silos between art, science and economy, and contributes to raise awareness in Switzerland and abroad.

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Editor’s Note: All information published as submitted by the author(s). Minor edits may have been made to increase readability and understanding.