Guernica de la Ecología

Guernica de la Ecología (2021) - a traveling manifesto

Desolate, gloomy and threatening. This is how the landscape, a swirling field of flowers, looks in the monumental work Guernica de la Ecología by artist and eco-activist Claudy Jongstra. With the artwork, she makes a fist against a careless world that treats the earth with no love. It is a warning against impending climate change and a plea for more color in the landscape, for biodiversity, sustainable art, dignified craftsmanship and restoration of healthy agriculture in an inclusive working environment. The title of her work refers to the iconic Guernica painted by Pablo Picasso in 1937 as an accusation against the violence during the Spanish civil war. The works share the same dimensions: (360X 790 cm) and both lack any color; the artists translated their indictment into menacing, angry-colored shades of black, white and sepia-grey.

The process of making each large-scale work of art at Studio Claudy Jongstra begins in the fields of the rural northern province of Friesland, The Netherlands. Wool from indigenous Drenthe Heath sheep, whose grazing balances the biotopes in their native heathland habitat, is Jongstra’s primary material. Colors are distilled from natural dye plants grown on Jongstra’s biodynamic farm, which contributes biodiversity to the region. These regenerative processes minimize waste and facilitate collaboration with multiple communities, landscapes, species, and forms of knowledge. Jongstra’s international team includes artists in residence and is in constant dialogue with the local community, regional farmers, scientific, educational, and cultural institutions, students, young people and social initiatives. 

With Guernica de la Ecología Jongstra also wants to call for self-reflection, dialogue, and action. That’s why, among other things, the nomadic work travels the world as a visual manifesto:

In the Netherlands, the artwork travelled in an Arriva bus running on vegetable fuel to the Grote Kerk in Breda in May 2022. Then to The Nicolaaskerk in Oost-Vlieland in September 2022, during Into The Great Wide Open. From September to November, 2022, the work was on display in the Dorpskerk Baaium together with a Chancel Talk with Claudy Jongstra on 22 October on The Future of Agriculture. 

On December 2, 2022 Claudy Jongstra gave a talk during the international Impact Conference EVPA in Maison de la Poste in Brussels. Her manifest traveling artwork The Guernica de la Ecología in the background, served as a mission statement and conversation piece, like the Guernica was for Picasso. It depicts her denunciation of climate change, intensive agriculture that is detrimental to local biodiversity and causes the extinction of many species of insects and small animals. 

On December 7, 2022, delegations from 195 countries met in Montreal, Canada, to stop the global deterioration of nature. For nature is worse off than ever. The hope is for a kind of 'Paris Agreement for Nature'. The nature summit with representatives of the member states of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), must here conclude a new UN biodiversity agreement to tackle the rapid decline of plants, animals and ecosystems. 

From 22 April to 17 September 2023, Guernica de la Ecología is part of the exhibition focusing on the relationship between humans and nature at Museum Kranenburgh in Bergen. 

Guernica de la Ecología can be seen in The Hague from 1 July 2023 when Spain takes office as EU president. And on 9 December 2023 on International Genocide Prevention Day at Eurojust (European Building for Judical Cooperation in Criminal Matters in The Hague. 

 Between 2021-2023, Guernica de la Ecología will also travel to Menorca, Balearic Islands, Spain. The artwork is accompanied by a series of programmes and workshops (Conexión), in which Jongstra approaches local crafts that are on the verge of disappearing from a contemporary point of view. They are key components in shaping a more ecologically just future.




Tekstveld 2: 

Photos: Jeroen Musch

Guernica de la Ecología, 2022
3.60 X 7.90 m
Drenthe heath sheep wool, merino, silk