We gave six talented young artists a Passport to Creativity, and sent them to three of the most remote, protected places on Earth. They captured the sights, sounds and impressions of their destinations. Along the way, they documented the impact of climate change and the struggle of conservation, and explored how creativity might help save the planet.
We can’t think of a better way to celebrate World Creativity and Innovation Week (April 15 – 21) and get ready for Earth Day (April 22), than to feature the work of these students. Today we’re taking a close look at the creations of Zenzele Ojore. She’s following her love of video, photography and mixed media art at the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work reflects journeys through Europe, Western Asia, and the United States, but this spring was the first time she scrambled to high altitude amongst the rocks and ice of Patagonia.
What was your first reaction when you arrived in Patagonia?
Zenzele: I was shocked and completely humbled by the immeasurable beauty of the landscape, it was like nothing I’d seen before.
The Passport to Creativity participants were chosen for their unique style. How did you bring your signature style to this project?
Zenzele: I love to blend mediums and try to take my raw content and transform it into something completely different from its original purpose. I was able to bring my style into the project by first trying to understand the environment then finding ways to capturing it. The diverse range of my final pieces are all inspired by the feeling of being immersed in the landscape of Patagonia.
While you were on location, how did the environment shape your work? Did you try anything new?
Zenzele: The environment shaped my work immensely: it made me work for an image like I had never had to before. I’ve never hiked before or been to high altitude locations so this experience tested my abilities and put me outside physical comfort zones. The result is that it allowed me to truly see the beauty of Patagonia from perspectives that before I would have been too afraid to attempt.
What was your most memorable moment from the experience?
Zenzele: The most memorable moment from the trip was being able to reach the French Valley Glacier. We learned that we’d be the first tourists to ever be brought to this location and we were watching it melt right in front of us. It really moved me in a way that I believe was important to the overall experience and impact of the trip. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that moment.
What did you most want to communicate about the place and the experience?
Zenzele: I wanted to present the smaller pieces of the landscape that make up the whole. Sometimes we look at places like this through the lens of climate change and it seems too vast of a place and too big of an issue for a human to singularly tackle. I wanted to show that the larger landscape was a direct product of all these smaller pieces. I hoped that this would allow people to understand that by protecting the tinier fragments, we are helping in the protection of the whole environment.
Will this experience impact your next creative project? Do you have any new ideas brewing that you can share with us?
Zenzele: Yes! I’ve already been looking at ways that I can blend my practice in video, gif and photo with my passion for color and travel. Not only has this experience impacted me by allowing me to further develop my Fulbright portfolio, but it’s opened my eyes to the beauty that lies beyond the confines of the city.
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