In his November 12, 2021, essay for England’s The Guardian newspaper, Booker Prize-winning author Ben Oki urged creative artists around the globe to dedicate their inspired labors to the production of works addressing the catastrophic crises of the current era. In his words:
“I propose existential creativity, to serve the unavoidable truth of our times, and a visionary existentialism, to serve the future that we must bring about from the brink of our environmental catastrophe.”
It just so happens that many creative artists already advocate not only for environmental justice, but also for economic justice, gender equality, and antiracism. That Okri declined in his op-ed/essay to comment on the last in this year when the verdict for the trial of the death of George Floyd made headlines around the world, and the trial for the killing of Ahmaud Arbery was moving toward a similar outcome, is a little baffling. After all, ending death by racism and xenophobia is no less a global crisis than preventing mass destruction from human-induced climate change. Neither, for that matter, is a coronavirus capable of masking itself and attacking our species in different mutated guises: such as Delta and Omicron.
Does any of that mean Okri’s call for more mindful considerations of climate change should be ignored? Not at all. But how any given creative chooses to respond to it is up to them. My own compulsion to address climate change is apparent in the article, “The Art of Reversing Climate Change Denial,” in artwork currently on exhibit in the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport Art Gallery, and in the book, Dreams of the Immortal City Savannah.
Contemporary award-winning American author of classically-styled works in history, poetry, creative nonfiction, speculative fiction, and journalism.