Throughout 2021 and 2022, the Underdogs Public Art Programme, which has been transforming public space in Lisbon since 2013 in partnership with the Galeria de Arte Urbana (GAU) and the Lisbon Municipality, is revealing a new format, where artists are invited to create work that raises awareness about climate change – arguably the most important challenge facing humanity in the 21st Century.
For this mural, Argentinian artist Pastel chose to focus on the loss of biodiversity and the inner workings of ecosystems, developing his approach through research that involves local botanical collections, including the Lisbon Botanical Garden and the Museum of Natural History and Science.
Titled “Lḗthē”, the mural’s composition presents a bouquet, where each species of flower is currently under threat of extinction in Portugal. By showing these flowers – namely the Globularia alypum, Liliim martagon, Spergularia tangerina and Xeranthemum inapertum – torn from the ground and faced with wilting and death, the artist is remarking on the inevitable demise of the natural world if nothing is done to preserve it.
"Within the articulation between nature and human development, points of inflection are created in which damage cannot be avoided. With the death and extinction of our emotional memory comes the degradation of the context in which we participate, where we have both forgotten and hidden ourselves."