A Conversation with Sofia Hadjiosif The Founder of Terra Movement
Sofia Hadjiosif is a UK-based multidisciplinary artist and the founder of the Terra Movement. She is currently a student at Manchester Metropolitan University in the Department of Future Media Production, focusing on graphic design and motion graphic design. Sofia founded Terra Movement to create an ‘’Artivist Community’’ for all artists and creators who want to raise environmental awareness through their work.
Sofia, we are so excited that you are here with us today. Thank you very much for accepting our collaboration offer. Could you tell us about yourself?
Since my childhood, I have always been passionate about helping the planet. However, the artivism part only came very recently when I switched my studies from Environmental Sciences to Art and Design at the university. Therefore, I had the chance to combine these areas with this new passion for art and design. Also, I slowly started to use design to communicate environmental problems. So, it is like a gradual process of these experiments.
Could you please elaborate on the term ‘’artivism’’? Where and how did the idea of combining artivism and environmental activism begin for you?
Artivism is using other art and other creating processes to express important messages. These messages could be environmental, political, or anything related to what’s going on. Artivism uses art as a medium for communicating because, as we all know, art has an emotional effect in terms of spreading thoughts and awareness. So, people are more inspired to change when they see something related to artivism.
What was your purpose in terms of founding ''Terra Movement''?
It was a very gradual process, as well. During the lockdown, I wanted to do a project. So, it all started to run this little environmental blog. I was doing everything, including writing articles. Once I started this journey, going deeper into art and design and learning more about artivism, I decided to change this little blog into a mission to use design to help the planet. I have made the changes slowly as I learned more by researching and experimenting – since I had no background in art and design before.
What were the first reactions when you founded the Terra Movement? Have you ever encountered negative or discouraging reactions?
Actually, most of the reactions are overwhelmingly positive because people are really appreciating what we are doing. They love the idea of the ‘’Artivism Community’’. I cannot remember how many negative reactions. The only negative reaction we got so far is on a personal level and activism itself. They say, ‘’You cannot make a difference. There is no point for an individual to make a difference’’. Yet, these kinds of sayings are usual for activists. But apart from those, feedback is very nice. Lots of people are encouraging us to continue this project.
The word "terra" means "earth" in Latin. Is there any particular reason for choosing this name? I know that you are a polyglot 😊
I was brainstorming different ideas to pick a name. Actually, I went through so many options. I really love learning new languages. As a person who speaks many languages, I wanted to incorporate different languages into the name. After so many brainstorming sessions again, I decided to go with ‘’Terra Movement’’. I am happy with this decision since it is a powerful name for activism and movement: You said Terra means the earth. Hence, the name of the Terra (Earth) Movement summarises the whole concept of what we are doing.
It is very bold to say, but climate change has already transformed everything about contemporary art. Therefore, artists from all over the world have taken up the challenge of creating symbols potent enough to break through into public consciousness. Regarding this, what's your and Terra Movement's position on raising awareness?
We really try to encourage artists to be involved in this Movement because most artists and designers, who are not involved with environmental activism, think that they cannot make a difference with art by raising environmental awareness. They also believe that scientists will do the work on this issue. But in this case, I think the opposite. I think it is crucial to participate in the climate movement. This is why we always do little challenges and initiatives. Therefore, we are trying to get artists involved in this artivism movement to show them that they can make a difference in helping the world and the planet.
Can you share some of the artists who have been practising their art on climate change with us? Which of these artists' works has a special meaning for you?
There is quite a lot, but that is a good thing. 😊 As Terra Movement, we have a chance to work with so many different people who are doing unique projects. Therefore, it is hard to say a specific one. But, I can say that one of the artists I love is from Iceland. His works are amazing. I also love the works of Sarah Nelson (@sarah_ann_nelson) from the United States. Her outstanding works are mainly focusing on the arctic. Emma Lopes (@emmalopesart) from Portugal is another one. She focuses on ocean art. I am always impressed by her artwork. Finally, the works of Angie from Mexico (@angie_creativist) are based on environmental consciousness. Yet, of course, there are so many people whom I admire for their work. These were the artists that came to my mind right now.
The indigenous artists are trying to reflect the climate crisis through their works. Many of these artists are also environmental defenders. In general, what are the approaches for indigenous artists to reach large audiences worldwide? Why do we need artivism and indigenous communities to work jointly to create environmental awareness?
As far as I know, indigenous people make up 5% per cent of the world population and protect 80% of global biodiversity. This shows us how important they are and what they can do because they have valuable knowledge about nature and are connected to nature. Therefore, all this knowledge is crucial. We need to let them lead the way in this climate movement because they are so important, and they can do great things for the planet. Some indigenous people use art that has a way to convey knowledge regarding climate change and environmental challenges. Combining this crucial indigenous knowledge with art is genuinely powerful and can show people the ‘’truth’’. It would be really amazing to work with the indigenous artist in the future for Terra Movement to show the world what they can do and how they are important to the planet.
As Terra Movement, you are trying to reach artists worldwide and make a difference, as we saw in your last project, Hope for the Planet. In this regard, is there a specific audience you want to reach?
Many people can benefit from working with us since the issues we face will affect everyone at the end of the day. In terms of generations, younger generations are the most involved in what we do because they are more aware of what’s happening. They care about making a difference compared to the older generations in general. Therefore, of course, younger generations will be involved more to make a difference. The content we produce is for everyone.
What's coming up for Terra Movement? What are Terra Movement's next campaigns, and how to get involved in these campaigns?
I do not want to reveal too much, but I can assert that we have a few exciting projects coming up. 😊 One of them will be a magazine. People will be able to get involved in this by contributing art or being interviewed etc. So, I can say that that is the next big project. I have other ideas, but they are for the future right now.
Lastly, could you please tell us your favourite plant-based milk? (It’s a tradition😊)
Almond milk 😊