Mosera lends artwork to USM

May 15, 2024

Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time. For too long climate change was presumed to be some distant, esoteric phenomenon, and appeared to be the preserve of technocrats, academics, and conservationists.
On Monday, May 13, renowned Caribbean artist Ras Mosera loaned his artwork “Atlas” to the University of St. Martin (USM) to be displayed in its Science & Research Institute - Room 200 Present for the handover were USM President - Dr. Antonio Carmona Baez, USM Dean - Dr. Gale Rigobert, USM Research Coordinator - Raymond Jessurun and Island(er)s at the Helm (IATH) Researcher – Lysanne Charles.

Charles, who is conducting research on the intersections of climate change, policy development and community participation, first encountered the artwork during the Caribbean Climate Justice Camp (CCJC) Culture Night, which was held in late March. The artist had exhibited it as a part of the CCJC’s attempt to pair visuals with poetry and music to highlight the catastrophic impacts of the climate crisis. The artwork had been used as the backdrop for the poetry and spoken word section of the evening which was hosted by Charles, and she felt it would be a perfect addition to research unit.

“After viewing Atlas and seeing how it tied into thoughts, and talks, I had been having with persons around the climate challenges facing St. Martin, I asked Mosera if he would be willing to display this piece at the university and he immediately agreed. I believe that art can help persons think along with theory and other deliberations that they are having concerning both research and policy and so I hope this piece, for as long as it is hanging here, inspires those who enter the space to think with urgency and strategy about local and global dynamics around climate change,” Charles said. According to Ras Mosera the artwork is meant to represent the fabled titan Atlas from Greek mythology.

“We all learned about the figure Atlas in school I believe, and how he has to hold up the earth right, and I wanted to paint that in an environmental disaster context so added the thermometers and gauges to acknowledge that we are now at the edge of collapsing, or drowning or chaos. So, this is just my artistic interpretation. When I was approached by Lysanne to have the painting hung here, it was good for me, because I believe that art must be at the center of education and research and must contribute to the development of a people,” Ras Mosera said.

These sentiments were echoed by both President Carmona Baez and Dean Rigobert. “The presence of this artwork by local artist Ras Mosera is a serious contribution to the physical space where our research institute is based and since we are an interdisciplinary center that reflects upon climate change, it helps to not only contribute to the colorful tapestry of contemporary Caribbean research, but also serves as a provocation for deeper thought and alternative approaches,” Carmona Baez said.

“His artistic depiction of climate change aligns beautifully with USM’s research and academic interest in this area, and we hope that it will inspire more of our students and visitors to the research unit to engage with not only the challenges, but also solutions to said,” Dean Rigobert said, adding, “this is a very generous contribution from my very talented St. Lucian countryman and I thank Mosera profusely for this.

Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time. For too long climate change was presumed to be some distant, esoteric phenomenon, and appeared to be the preserve of technocrats, academics, and conservationists. I have often advocated for more to be done to infuse climate change into our collective psyche and everyday lexicon. Art is a very powerful medium through which we can achieve this. “Atlas” proves this in every way”.

This is not the first time that the artist has collaborated with the university. Axum and USM also work together on Axum – USM Movie & Discussion Nights, which brings together academia and members of the community to view and discuss movies and documentaries of social significance and USM’s Science Café, which also academic, community and citizen researchers to present their research to the public.

“It is important that we continue to bring research and the community closer and closer together for the proper development of our communities and countries. The people on the island know what things are impacting them and what needs to be researched to ensure they have a better quality of life, so we are here to facilitate that interaction. We want the people do become involved and direct what the research has to provide for their development,” Coordinator Jessurun said.

If persons are interested in presenting any research they are currently doing at the Science Café they can contact Jessurun at" target="_blank"> For more information about university or Axum events visit the webpages respectively.


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