Sean Yoro, self-taught street artist and native Hawaiian, is known for his thought-provoking murals painted along the sides of old buildings, shipwrecks, and abandoned walls. His work, which became publicized in 2015 after his semi-submerged water murals arose on the scene, captivates all of those who bear witness to these lively creations. In a recent project – ‘What If I Fly’ – Yoro headed to a region greatly affected by climate change: the Canadian Arctic Circle. To bring attention to an important environmental issue, Hula (Yoro’s alias) painted murals not on abandoned walls, but on the surrounding glacier ice.
In Iqaluit, Nunavut, glaciers are melting, and sea levels are rising, threatening the survival of a nearby town where many indigenous Inuit still live. Yoro spent time getting to know a local Inuk – who later became the subject of his art – and listened to what she had to say. He hoped he could connect with the local Inuit and portray what they had on their minds. It turns out that they had a lot to say about climate change.
Tracing through the nearby Arctic waters on his paddleboard, Yoro maneuvered through thousands of icebergs that had broken off a nearby glacier in search of the right sheet of ice to begin preparing his mural. The rate of the melting ice was a concern, as ice cracked and moved around him. Discovering what he and his crew believed to be a suitable frozen mass for his art, Yoro worked several hours to complete the project. The painting depicted the Inuk woman he had spoken with before, but as the waters rose and the ice melted, it was quickly washed away. Even if just for a moment, Yoro was able to create a remarkable projection of the Inuit community while also drawing attention to the concerns about climate change. His work is applauded for evoking environmental discussion, but this venture is particularly special.
‘Within a few weeks, these murals will be forever gone, but for those who find them, I hope they ignite a sense of urgency, as they represent the millions of people in need of our help who are already being affected from the rising sea levels of Climate Change.’
More of Sean Yoro’s work can be found on his Instagram. Yoro preserves his efforts to maintain environmental awareness by using oil paints and mediums that are 100 percent non-toxic and made with alkali-refined linseed oil or safflower oil and natural pigments.