The Grantham Climate Art Prize: An art competition for young people to install a message of hope for the future
We wanted to paint powerful public art across the UK to raise awareness for biodiversity loss and climate change, working with the Grantham Institute - Climate Change and the Environment at Imperial College London, the Natural History Museum’s Real World Science network and UK Youth for Nature. Amazingly, over 100 original and inventive designs flooded our way from young people aged 12-25, representing climate change through art.
We want to showcase their artwork far and wide, starting with this online gallery.
Grantham Climate Art Prize Winners!
Earth & Nature Climate Change - Artwork Entry
Colin aged 14
'My mural features a shark, bluebell and dragonfly which are locally endangered species of Glasgow.'
Earth & Nature Climate Change - Finished Mural
Location: SWG3 Railway Arch
Painted by Globel and Conzo
We can bee in harmonee - Artwork Entry
Kirsty aged 22
'We can bee in harmonee is a piece focusing on hope that we can coexist with nature and help the planet heal from our past carelessness. Examples of eco-friendly and sustainable ways of harvesting energy sit in the background. In the foreground smaller creatures and plants that are often overlooked, with a focus on the Nottingham Catchfly, a hazel dormouse and wall hawkweed mixed in. And of course BEES! There are hidden messages with forget-me-knots to represent not forgetting nature and the white butterfly as a symbol of hope (and a photo opportunity!) Can we be the hope to save the planet?'
We can bee in harmonee - Finished Mural
Location: Wollaton Hall
Painted by Kirsty Lloyd and Anna Wheelhouse. Photo taken by Ryan Davis.
Our Home Too - Artwork Entry
Jasmine aged 23
'Our Home Too' features the White-Clawed Crayfish, holding a sign which features the Dingy Skipper Butterfly, the Grass Snake, and Scarce Black Mining Bee. It relates to the biodiversity theme by highlighting that these species are losing their home, by destruction or competition. It uses imagery of homelessness with the sign.
Our Home Too - Mural Wall
Location: Port Street (by the canal)
Painted by Grega Greaves
The future, Is up to you - Artwork Entry
Stephany aged 25
'In this piece we can see the present represented and how we humans play a big part in climate change and biodiversity loss, but if you choose the right steps you can contribute to a better tomorrow. It's all one step away. Leicester endangered species featured in this painting include; a Great crested newt, black poplar tree, European hedgehog, some large garden bumblebees, spreading bellflower and swift birds.'
The future, Is up to you - Finished Mural
Location: North Bridge Place
Painted by Graffwerks
Hope - Artwork Entry
Julia aged 18
'Water pollution puts fairy shrimps’ and short-snouted seahorses’ lives at risk. It is also dangerous for the oarweed, tangle weed, and kelp forests. My piece features all the listed species. By reducing pollution and collecting our rubbish, we can protect these animals and plants.'
Hope - Mural Wall
Location: The Levels opposite the college
Painted by Charlie Rallings
Taking Flight - Artwork Entry
Mayokum Janet Alao aged 15
‘My piece includes the Grey Heron and the Floating Water Plantain: I chose these species because they represent the spirit of Rochdale. Currently, there has been a boom in the modernising of the Rochdale Town Centre and as I have lived here my whole life it has been a surprise but pleasantly enjoyed. The Grey heron represents the Rochdale I grew up in, elegant yet rather lonesome. The bunch of Floating Water Plantain represents the growing sense of community in Rochdale and both combined, create a beautiful contrast in a newly emerging town with a grand history behind it. However, in terms of biodiversity both species are suffering from damages to their habitats, as a result, their diets and breeding are affected. I hope my piece informs the people of Rochdale to care for the species around them, as both the town and its agriculture should progress as one.’
Taking Flight - Finished Mural
Location: Baillie Street
Painted by Bushra Sultana
Mya aged 24
‘This features the brown banded carder bee and how it keeps the wildlife alive. It’s an image of bees in wildlife with a certificate to highlight how it’s part of the city and not just a bee.’
Citizen Award - Painted Mural
Location: Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park
Painter: Michelle Meola
Seahorses in the seaweed
Alexander aged 22
'This design features a prominent species under protection—the short-snouted seahorse—with Oarweed and sugar kelp surrounding it. Through this design I wanted to give the viewer a magnifying glass into the textures of this small fish. I think that seeing such a recognisable animal will give passers-by a visual representation of the local habitat and biodiversity. Having this image in one’s mind will help them to consider making better environmental choices and a reason to keep on fighting against loss of biodiversity and climate change. Additionally, it is a reminder of the work done by Brighton and Hove to conserve their habitats. The Living Coast: UNESCO World Biosphere Region and its Marine Conservation Zones are a shining example of how nature can be preserved with the local community and tourism. These projects give tangible hopefulness that the region’s biodiversity will always be considered regarding local development and future preservation.'
Please Look Out For Us!
Molly aged 22
'I chose to create my art piece for Brighton, as the wildlife species on the brief stood out to me. I was inspired by the traditional beach huts which can be found in Brighton to act as a fitting backdrop, the use of bright colours could also capture the attention of those who pass by. Amongst the beach huts, I found ways to incorporate all ten of the Priority species from Brighton's list, including the sea creatures and plants such as the European Eel and the Fairy Shrimp, which can be found as the patterns on the deckchair and towel. I also chose to include the message "Please look out for us!" in the signs on the doors of the huts, which aims to encourage the viewers to be observant and take care of our wildlife.'
Keep Brighton Wild
Lulu aged 19
'When you think of Brighton your mind is automatically drawn to its seafront. The whole city faces it, it is as though it permanently looks out at the horizon. But behind it is something else beautiful, and that is the South Downs. I wanted to focus on this more forgotten, but just as bewitching, feature of Brighton’s natural setting. I have included all the wildlife listed, of which more than half belong in the chalky hills of the national park. I think there is something personable about a city such as Brighton, the way it stares at the channel while looking away from the downs, it has a face. In a strange way biodiversity provides natural places with a soul, so that is what I drew. I hope that is okay.'
Save Our Oceans
Isabella aged 13
'My picture includes the species European Eel, Kelp Forest and Short-snouted Seahorse. It relates to the biodiversity theme because it shows all the creatures in the sea, but there is lots of plastic around them. There is also a fishing rod near the eels to show the illegal fishing.'
Nature is behind every city
Alexandra aged 22
'The mural shows the skyline of Glasgow and within the skyline is a view of the Scottish moors with several of the species that have been struggling since we have come along into their environment (white tailed eagles, water voles, pine marten and Golden-ringed Dragonfly). The merging of the two in the mural is meant to signify that nature and mankind can work in harmony and become one. It doesn't have to be us or them, change comes from coming together from different backgrounds to benefit a common aim. I am super passionate about the subject however found out through doing this that I am not the best at drawing animals, so if I do get picked I hope you can envisage the picture done by a professional.'
Daniel aged 17
'This piece features the basking shark, red squirrel and the small pearl-bordered fritillary. This piece itself relates to biodiversity due to the contrast between a 'bright' side and a noir/dull side. Also, this piece promotes hope through the use of two hands reaching out to one another in the centre, at the top left corner we showcase the local endangered species from the brief for Glasgow, and as we move to the bottom right we see pollution, CO2, factories, and a cactus (which was used to foreshadow if further exploitation of our green spaces and our biodiversity collapses, the area will be as useful as a desert). I chose to do this piece on a canvas to experiment with a messy, contemporary style. I wanted to somewhat control the media I put on it, as a metaphor for bigger industries to reduce their carbon footprint and emissions. #fightclimatechange.'
The Red Deforestation
Keira aged 12
'My artwork features the red squirrel, with its eyes showing you the deforestation that is going on around the world and not just in the UK.'
Just the opposite
Natalia aged 21
'This piece claims that the only difference between animals and humans is the sense of reciprocity. Humans’ duty is to preserve the animals affected by the climate change, usually caused by human actions. This drawing expresses that if animals were in our situation, they would probably help us. In Hackney, the most affected creatures are the Brown-Banded Carder Bees since they are facing a loss of the flower-rich grassland and the intensity of modern farming methods. That is why there are two bees conveying this problem. The importance of insects is underestimated, as these animals are less visible than others. This piece remarks how important the preservation of these species is. It can be seen a Stag Beetle, a Cinnabar Moth and a Horehound Longhorn Moth. More common species like the House Sparrow or the Common Toad are facing problems, so it is also crucial to take care of them.'
Bees at Work
Serena aged 19
'I was drawn to the brown-banded Carder Bee as the focus of my piece. Bees are the glue that link the various facets of our environment. Pollination is vital for the survival and proliferation of many of our plant-life. Moreover, bumblebees are involved in the pollination of "commercial crops", thus proving to be pivotal in humanity's own food cycle as well. In my piece, I wanted to highlight the key role carried out by these bees in a literal but also metaphorical sense. I tried to contrast these animated creatures and the vibrant flora they keep alive, against a washed-out background; because in a literal way, the work of these bees keeps our world alive and colourful. We are all much better off with this species alive and well and so I hope my piece will bring a message of hope in the wake of climate change.'
Pierce aged 22
'The streets need to be lit. With life. With vibrance. With love. With nature. We all desperately need that connection, that reminder that brings us...Together. Imaging what this could be, I couldn't think of anything more powerful or grounding than the nature which surrounds us. In London we are blessed with marvellous species like Skylarks, Stag Beetles, Damsel Flies and Adonis Blue Butterflies (as seen in the mural). However, many of us Homo sapiens have not opened our eyes to the importance of respecting our neighbouring species. Our relationship with nature is something we need to look at more deeply. Let's all play our part. Let's all take one step to rewild the urban jungles, we ALL call home.'
Unite and protect our environment
Sena aged 16
'Despite the fact that if we as a community took charge of our own actions beforehand, which would result in the consequences not being as drastic and damaging as it is in this period of time, we need to face the reality that we have come to this point where we must be more cautious of our actions and more protective towards our environment due to extreme climate changing conditions. Thus, I wanted to portray my belief that once we come together as a one, not only can we save the animals, trees and oceans, but also our whole earth, our home. I believe that if we act now, and altogether, we will make a huge difference for the better. For the endangered species aspect, I decided to pick two animals that are struggling in the UK; the brown banded carder bee and the stag beetle. I chose these species as I think that they have such beautiful, bright colours which add to the positive aspect of this composition that I was trying to create and would look amazing as a mural. I just hope that I could help in anyway even if it’s just participating. Thank you so much for your consideration and this opportunity.'
The game ends when the tower falls
Aleksandra aged 20
‘The piece shows a biodiversity game of Jenga. There are names of endangered species from the area on the blocks such as a Stag Beetle or a European Eel. This analogy works well because similarly to a game of Jenga, removing blocks decreases the stability of the tower and can lead to a potential collapse. At the top of the tower there is a skyline of London featuring the London Eye and The Gherkin emphasising the fact that biodiversity is crucial for the city to thrive. There are endangered species featured around the stack such as a House Sparrow, Soprano Pipistrelle Bat, Cinnabar Moth and a Common Toad. Each of the animals is placed on their own, vibrant background which brings life to the piece exactly as a greater range of species brings more life to the ecosystems.’
We Share This Planet
Urvi aged 23
‘The hands holding soil and a city represents that it is in our hands to make a change and increase the biodiversity within this city, to cater for the habitats of the species most at risk and remember that we share this Earth with millions of other creatures and therefore it is our responsibility to consider our impacts on them. This piece features 10 endangered species in the local Hackney area - the common toad, the bee, grass snake and European eel, the 2 moths, beetle and bat, and also the two birds represented by 2 simplified ticks near the buildings, typically associated with birds.’
Save our Summer
Ria aged 19
‘My piece represents a beautiful forest ecosystem- a biodiverse scene where the sun is forcing its rays through the trees, giving centre stage to the European hedgehog- its spikes not enough to protect itself from human threat. The large garden bumble bee lays on its nose as they hide in the bellflower trying to keep it safe beneath them. The black redstart glares over them admiring what has become its only family. While all these organisms are so different, they all suffer the same pain and watch their environment disintegrate every day. But one thing will never change - the sun will always shine on them in the new day.’
Colours of Leicestershire
Tabby aged 13
‘The colours of Leicestershire shows a variety of crops growing with native species thriving. Happy worms looking after the soil, happy European Hedgehog eating the worm, happy Large Bumble Bee pollinating the Bellflower and the agricultural crops with green electricity produced by the wind farms. Also spot the octopus!’
The dragon den
Hanbo aged 25
‘A Great Crested Newt dancing under the spreading bell flower. In a world that is becoming increasingly hostile, the habitat for the future of this majestic creature is sparse. Destruction of ponds and meadows have caused great catastrophes and before we grief for their ceasing dance, we must save this rural scene.’
Anna (Yuyi) aged 18
‘This piece features a year in a life of a hazel dormouse in its natural habitat, and has been presented in one day. This piece references the Slaughterhouse-Five as it also collapses time and is “anti-glacier”. The more abstract section at the beginning tries to depict stardust, where we all come from. The blank space represents both winter and day when the dormouse is asleep.’
Our Vibrant Home
Ginny aged 19
‘My mural design features a Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) surrounded by a plethora of colours inspired by nature, particularly wildflowers. During the pandemic, my interest in birds and ornithology has grown. I have recently started taking a pair of binoculars out so I can bird watch on my walks. I find raptors extremely interesting, and for this reason I chose to paint a Peregrine! The sheer diversity of nature can be witnessed and experienced through the variety of colours present in the flora and fauna around us. This is why I went with a more minimalist aesthetic for this piece, as I believe even the seemingly simplistic aspects of nature are more incredible and complex than we can imagine. My design features the words 'lets fight for our vibrant home'. We can work together and fight to make a difference by improving biodiversity within our local area and further afield.’
Josh aged 12
‘I chose this silhouette style art because I wanted to show that the Peregrine Falcon embodies part of Mother Nature and deserves to fly free.’
Stained Glass 'Window'
Alexander aged 22
‘This design incorporates endangered river and wetland flora and fauna, namely: the grey heron, pond mud snail, sphagnum moss and the centrepiece—the white-clawed crayfish. I was inspired by the iconic stained-glass windows of the historical Rochdale Town Hall to create a more modern-style stained-glass-esque mural. I want to give acknowledgement to this grand symbol of hope to the community for many generations, as well as provide a ‘window’ into the rich biodiversity that can be found in the nature reserves in the surrounding area. Furthermore, the Rochdale area has more than 20,000 ha of Sites of Biological Interest and this highlights the essential role of local councils in drafting and enacting protective laws and biodiversity acts. These aid to preserve local habitats, maintain biodiversity, and conserve endangered species so that they survive to help upkeep species variety and allow the next generation to enjoy them too.’
Keep the world turning
Lola aged 13
My entry features three of the most endangered species in my area (Rochdale).I feel it is important to emphasise not just climate change alone, but the species of wildlife that are unfortunately affected by it. The animals I included were a grey heron, a brown hare and a twite. The depiction of the earth in the background with arrows pointing in a clockwise direction symbolises the action us as a local community and us as an international community need to take to keep our ecosystems turning, not just for ourselves, but for the variety of species we share the planet with. We only have one earth, it is irreplaceable. Ever since humans arrived on this planet, they have obliviously inflicted damage upon countless ecosystems. While this damage is not completely reversible with a simple flick of the wrist, it can however be solved if swift action is taken. This needs to be taken into consideration by bigger and smaller organisations alike, working together is key if the climate crisis is to be solved.
Heron of Hope and Freedom.
Jennifer aged 24
‘Heron of hope and freedom relates to the theme of biodiversity. As the grey Heron has its wings open which represents the freedom and hope of their species and the other species included in this illustration (such as the Floating Water Plantain and the Brown Hare) who have the right to live within a safe environment. The piece is set within Rochdale canal.’
Tillie-Mae aged 12
‘We looked at the different possible futures we and the biodiversity on our planet might face. We included the Floating water plantain on the positive future and a Twite 'making a choice'. We looked at artwork which depicted two worlds, one with positive, healthy green spaces, and one with negative, pollution filled spaces as inspiration behind the split worlds idea. We are aware that we are at a crossroad in relation to the future of the biodiversity of our planet and that we can't survive without a healthy and thriving plant and animal population.’
Protect the Pollinators!
Esme aged 16
‘The change in industry saw the air pollution improve and biodiversity flourish... however, some species are still left vulnerable: including various different species of bees - more specifically, the scarce black miner bee. To include these friends of ours, in our ever-developing society, let's get together and grow more pollinator friendly plants, supporting all different types of bees. My piece exhibits the environmental metamorphosis that Stoke-on-Trent has experienced: where once there were coal heaps and pot mines, lacing everything it touched in thick smoke. Now green spaces and happy faces get to thrive in the clean air.’
White clawed crayfish
Ana aged 23
‘The white clawed crayfish is threatened by the pollution of the rivers and the American signal crayfish, next to the depressed river mussel.’
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