Revive through Art

By Aurégane Denis

A broken natural world can be beautified when its is loved again via artist practice when they come together as one they gives birth to something incomparable.The human mind in the past has been destructive to our wonderful planet but the human mind can also heal, here we talk about how art can heal nature. Read more in Revive through Art

Buildings left to rack and ruin can be reborn into places of great art installations and help repair lost areas.

Special collaborations like these can be found on some places located in the united states or in the middle of Japan that have been themselves transformed with the arrival of diverse creations.

In some of these places, art has given them new life. Here we explore three resurrected and inspiring sites, one in Detroit, another in Greensboro and the little lost paradise that is the Island of Inujima located in Japan. Together we can  admire how artists have saved these places by putting their creativity into the restoration of each unique environment.

Violence can deeply impact the image of a city and turn it into a place you would avoid visiting during your holiday. Detroit’s image was deeply affected by some dark influences in the 80’ and it had an effect on the resident’s mental health too.

To change this negative image, an old resident named Tyree Guyton decided to immerse himself into his old life by returning to his old neighbourhood equipped himself using his creative mind as a tool to change things.

Because of the district’s reputation of violent drug deals and poverty, the streets had become emptied year on year. In a creative move he decided to take advantage of these abandoned houses and reuse them as his canvas to paint on. He wanted to give the beauty back to the place that he loved by recycling what his old neighbours left behind. 

This particular project was named The Heidelberg Project after the street’s name in which Tyree lived as a child. The first objective was to clean all the vacant houses left behind  by the original inhabitant that moved in quest to find safer places to live, but didn’t clean the homes before leaving.

He succeeded in motivating some other residents to help him making his creative project happen, interestingly, at the beginning most of them were children. 

To find Beauty in the darkest places might be a difficult task but it didn’t discouraged Tyree, in fact, he got inspired by this lack of vitality and chose to transform these houses that were part of his childhood landscape into giant pieces of art.

So he started painting these houses full of joyful colours, the sad sidewalks were replaced by beautiful art-filled paths full of curious sculptures, colourful fresco and murals. Even the trees were included in this landscape. This project gave new life back to the city and attract annually more than 200,000 visitors which also resurrected the local economy. 

One other city also got inspired by the idea of using art to bring it back to life, this time however, it wasn’t because of some dark old influences, but more of a question of poorly maintained buildings.

Situated in North Carolina, the city of Greensboro chose to transform a long-abandoned railroad trestle located in the middle of the city into an enjoyable path to walk through with its transformation via art.

Used as a tool to reach their goal, art took the faces of paintings on the inside of tunnels, light interactive displays and some surprising looking sculptures. This project was called the Over.Under.Pass and had the goal to revitalise Greensboro’s heart by also encouraging more people to go for a walk and enjoy their new neighbourhood.

This project brought together many artists that wanted to show their support by doing colourful paintings all over the highway bridge to bring back a bit of life to it. Also there was a tunnel worked on by a different team of artists.

The style of painting on the bridge, drew is inspiration from old camouflage designs painted on ancient British battleship developing their idea around it.

They also transformed an abandoned tunnel into a light interactive spectacle for the pedestrians, the only thing you have to do is walk through it and the motions captors will do the rest. However, you are free to have fun with it and let this colourful show consume you.

By doing these art project, the objective was to give a unique and refreshing aspect to the city. Public art is a free and enjoyable way to completely change the image of a place.; giving a new peaceful paradise that all can enjoy.

Now, let’s dive into the surrounding water of the island of Inujima that seems to be in terrible need of some of this resurrecting creativity. This small piece of land was mainly exploited for industrial purposes therefore the island’s architecture didn’t tend to be the most attractive for people to settle in. With less than 50 inhabitants, the island seemed to have lost its spark over the years. Yet artists were the saviour needed. They came in and created alive and refreshing pieces of art to ‘cure the sadness’ of the Island’s Landscape.

The Naoshima Fukutake Art Museum Foundation made it its mission to create a healthy environment on the island so it could benefit from a fresh start.

In 2010 the first project emerged on the Island called the Inujima Seirensho Art Museum. Their goal was to turn the abandoned ruins of the Island’s refinery into an enjoyable place to live so the inhabitants could live in harmony with each other and the beautiful surroundings. This refinery became the playground for the local children but is now being rebuilt into a shed for creativity so that people can come from all over the world to explore it. Inujima has evolved from collapse, a ruined island, into the place truly worth setting your eyes on. 

But it didn’t end there, it is still a work in progress. The artists have chosen to change the landscape of the whole island by focusing on five different galleries spread around this little piece of land.

By doing this, the artists are changing the Island’s soul and the inhabitant daily lives. Think of it like suddenly being immersed into the tale of Alice in Wonderland with a couple of colourful, giant-scale flowers in front of you. Or continue your journey,  across a large contact lens sculpture that allows you to see the natural surroundings of the Island on a much bigger scale. These artists gifted the Island with designs and beauty that is ‘seducing’ people from the entire world therefore bringing back some life to it.

Ok, we do understand that Japan may not be the closest place to easily visit, worry not. Some of the artwork is coming to London just for you to explore and admire. From the end of May to September 2022, you will have the possibility to come and see the magic for yourself at Inujima’s Island at Japan House London. The exposition will include a partial full-scale replica of the Brazilian artist Beatriz Milhaze’s floral structure. Also be immersed in the island’s inspiring story by admiring photographs and testimonial videos of Inujima’s inhabitants whose lives were directly impacted by this project.

Art is surrounding us, it is not only enveloped in a pretty frame on a museum’s wall. Art lives through the infinite possibilities of creations; the result of a creative idea or simply born from the natural beauty given by mother earth. A unique gesture that can lead to bigger changes.  

By embellishing their city, these residents are supporting each other in this creative project leading the way and showing us that when something is broken, maybe try to transform it into something unique.

To find ouf more about the Japan house London click here

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