The Splash and Burn project has set out on a particularly difficult task to use art to tackle important eco issues. But the power of art, and particularly public art, is not to be undermined. The Portuguese artist Vhils (aka Alex Farto), is the most recent addition to the Splash and Burn art activist list. In the Batang Toru forest of the Tapanuli highlands in Northern Sumatra, the Tapanuli Orangutan survives with only 800 of its kind left! Vhils X Splash and Burn in Sumatra Indonesia

However they are under immediate threat due to the newly approved 510MW hydropower dam which is undergoing it’s preparation phases now. The completion of the dam will see the destruction of their existing habitat and prevent the connection of habitat patches to other forest corridors.

Trying to save Tapanuli Orangutan

Vhils X Splash and Burn in Sumatra Indonesia

Vhils’s artwork is a cleverly placed portrait of this beautiful creature which we know so little about, in the heart of the habitat of those who would essentially destroy it. An embossed reminder that it is not to late to change plans and take some to reflect on possible negative consequences of the dam’s building. And above all consider alternatives that may not wipe a species off the face of the earth. The work is haunting and at the same time incredibly beautiful.

See for yourself here

Images by Ernest Zacharevic, Nicholas Chin, Skaiste Kazragyte & Andrew Walmsley

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