Seven artists reflect on the beauties of each continent for Earth Day

Climate change is threatening some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes and habitats. Seven artists reflect on the special glories of each continent and the ways that nature inspires them and nourishes the spirit.

Eiko Ojala for The Washington Post

Africa

Artist: Michelle R. D’Urbano

Age: 27

Location: Chingola, Zambia

Title: “Restoration”

I wanted to capture that blissful feeling you get on a bright, sunny morning, when you let in the first light and it fills you with a sense of optimism. It’s a celebration of the mundane moments combined with a majestic burst of nature. I love being immersed in nature, taking long, slow walks that allow me to reset and leave me in awe of the world’s beauty.

Europe

Artist: Eiko Ojala

Age: 37

Location: Meremõisa, Estonia

Title: “Observer”

I am very much a nature person. I think we all are, to varying degrees. I spend most of my free time outdoors — running, walking, playing with my son. We also go berry picking, or foraging for mushrooms in the autumn. Nature is more than just a nice place to be; it’s also deeply nourishing on a really fundamental level.

Asia

Artist: Hsiao Ron Cheng

Age: 33

Location: Taipei, Taiwan

Title: “Coexistence”

It’s hard for us humans to pursue our comfortable lives without causing destruction to the natural world. I wanted to illustrate that conflict, and how bizarrely beautiful it would be to find ways to coexist with the Earth, combining the way that I both enjoy hiking in the mountains surrounding my city and appreciate the conveniences of life in an urban center.

North America

Artist: Rob Wilson

Age: 51

Location: New York

Title: “The Grandest Canyon”

I first saw the Grand Canyon on a road trip with my college roommate. I wasn’t excited about visiting, but once there, I was overcome by the canyon’s magic, the unforgettable colors and the layers of millennia visible in its walls. Nature has been part of my life since I was a boy in West Texas, and returning to it always reminds me of my small place on the planet.

Australia

Artist: Katherine Brickman (Greedy Hen)

Age: 37

Location: Sydney

Title: “Water Garden”

Our coral reefs are extremely fragile, living ecosystems. I love swimming and snorkeling around them and taking in that delicate beauty. To immerse yourself in the nature that surrounds you requires you to be a respectful, quiet observer. And nothing is quieter than having your head under water.

South America

Artist: Gabi Salem

Age: 41

Location: Buenos Aires

Title: “Pachamama”

I was inspired by the concept of Pachamama, the Mother Earth of the Incas. I wanted to reflect the Earth’s energy and flow, but perhaps the illustration says more about me: I find that whenever I have the opportunity to be close to nature, I try to capture everything with my eyes. I can spend hours looking at the landscape. And if I have my brushes, paper and some ink, it’s paradise.

Antarctica

Artist: Trish Hart

Age: 64

Location: The Gurdies, Australia

Title: “Weddell Seals”

I am a wildlife artist and traveled to the Antarctic with the Australian Antarctic Division on an arts fellowship and to complete a set of stamps for Australia Post. The Weddell seal is the southernmost breeding mammal on Earth and lives in Antarctica. It was an out-of-this-world experience to spend time with this female and her pup when they approached me on the sea ice near the Davis base. Their innocence and their affection for each other was beautiful to witness.