Sustainable Art Exhibitions - Playground by Octavio Aburto.

Sustainable Exhibitions and Art Shows in the UK

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We love a good art show as much as the next culture vulture, but sometimes we need artists, galleries, and museums to take the lead when it comes to educating audiences on widespread social issues. Connecting visitors to the natural world, endangered species, plastic consumption, and climate change, these are the sustainable art exhibitions to see in the UK this year.

A Guide to Sustainable Art

Sustainable Exhibitions and Art Shows

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Waste Age

Waste Age: What can design do?

80% of a product’s environmental impact is decided at the design stage – so it makes sense to ask how design can tackle waste. The Design Museum’s latest exhibition Waste Age not only asks this question – it also answers it with an array of inspiring solutions. From dresses made of algae to seaweed furniture to future concept fast food made from the scraps we throw away, there’s a solution and a use for almost every type of waste. Highlights include pioneering sustainable fashion from Stella McCartney’s A-Z Collection, photography from Edward Burtynsky and an interactive forest installation by the Sony Design Centre. Expect to be educated and inspired. 22 October 2021 – 20 February 2022,

Image: Felix Speller

Eremozoic, Jim Naughten


A new series from photographic artist Jim Naughten is going on display at Grove Square Galleries, themed around our modern-day disconnection from the environment. He uses a practice called digital painting – a combination of photography and painting – to explore the idea of the natural world as a faraway fictional fantasy, highlighting our growing estrangement. The show’s title, Eremozoic, is a term used to describe the current era of the Earth’s development, characterised as a period of mass extinction due to human activity. Speaking about the show, Naughten says: ‘I’m interested in how, in the evolutionary blink of an eye, humans have come to dominate and overwhelm the planet and how far our relationship with the natural world has fundamentally and dangerously shifted from that of our ancestors.’ 7 October – 18 November 2021,

Image: Courtesy of the artist and Grove Square Galleries

Malala Andrialavidrazana

We Are History

This autumn, Somerset House will be presenting a new exhibition offering a different perspective on humanity’s impact on the planet. Curated by Ekow Eshun, We Are History traces the complex interrelations between today’s climate crisis and legacies of colonialism through the work of nine artists with personal connections to countries in the Caribbean, South America, and Africa. Showing 14 October 2021 – 6 February 2022 at Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA.

Image: Malala Andrialavidrazana, Figures 1852, River Systems of the World, 2018. Courtesy of Somerset House

Eye of the Hurricane by Octavio Aburto

Exposure: Lives at Sea

The National Maritime Museum has unveiled a new photography exhibition exploring the experiences of those currently working at sea. The photographs on show were taken by maritime workers from every corner of the industry, from food and ecosystem services to energy and transportation. Exposure: Lives at Sea hopes to shed some light on one of the world’s most unseen industries, as well as the people within it. Showing 3 December 2020 – 31 December 2021 at the National Maritime Museum, Park Row, Greenwich, London , SE10 9NF.

Image: Eye of the Hurricane by Octavio Aburto. Image provided by kind permission of artist © Octavio Aburto

Refugee Astronaut III, Yinka Shonibare CBE, 2019

Being Human

As the title suggests, The Wellcome Collection’s permanent exhibition Being Human is an exploration of what it means to live as a human being in the twenty-first century. The space is divided into four themes: genetics, minds and bodies, infection, and climate breakdown. The final chapter addresses the era of modern climate change, and includes artworks by the likes of Superflex and Yinka Shonibare. A thought-provoking look into the future of society, art, and sustainable art exhibitions. The Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, London , NW1 2BE.

Image: Refugee Astronaut III, Yinka Shonibare CBE, 2019 © Yinka Shonibare CBE. Courtesy of The Wellcome Collection

Featured image: Playground by Octavio Aburto. Image provided by kind permission of artist © Octavio Aburto.

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