DVATE – ‘Thirst’

DVATE is a Melbourne based artist who is well-known for his graffiti art and large photo-realistic images of wildlife. His work can be seen from trackside to galleries, festivals and zoos and his unique lettering which is often integrated into his portraits of the natural world create a dynamic juxtaposition between the figurative and the abstract forms of graffiti.

credit: p1xels

His interest in conservation and climate change issues led him to be commissioned as the first artist to paint a wall for the festival, Climate+Art=Change a partnership between CLIMARTE (the not-for profit organisation aimed at creating awareness of climate change issues through art) and the City of Port Phillip in St Kilda, Melbourne.

credit: p1xels

credit: p1xels

DVATE chose an Australian icon that resonates with most of the world – the Koala. Titled ‘Thirst’, he aims to create an awareness of the Koala’s vulnerable status that is directly associated to rising levels of CO2 in their food combined with other issues caused by global warming and habitat loss. The painting depicts a koala eating a green leaf amongst leaves that are dry and dead symbolising its impending extinction in the wild.

The name Koala comes from the Aboriginal word meaning ‘no drink’. Unlike other species, koalas do not drink from watering holes as they obtain their moisture nutrients through eating eucalyptus leaves. DVATE has included the text ‘no drink’ presaging the predicament of the koala and is a call to arms for action. Although a visually pleasing painting, ‘Thirst’ represents a juncture within the current debates surrounding climate change.

credit: p1xels

‘By painting a mural based on such an iconic Australian animal, I hope to appeal to the general public and hopefully prompt some form of positive reaction. It’s scary to think that something we take for granted could be extinct in the not too distant future.’DVATE 

Associative words and letters such as extinction, thirst, CO2 are overlaid on his distinctive lettering style affirming his background as a graffiti artist whilst evincing his technical adroitness of capturing evocatively the nuances of his theme and subject.

credit: p1xels

credit: p1xels

‘Thirst’ can be seen in Acland Street, St Kilda, Melbourne and is one of two public art commissions addressing climate change issues.

Huge thanks to Art Historian/Curator Georgia Rouette for these words and p1xels for the images.