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Splash & Burn

Documentary - Awareness Campaign - 2018
Directed by Sean Lin & Nicholas Chin
A giant SOS distress call has been carved into a palm oil plantation in Sumatra by Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic, calling attention to the ongoing destruction of Indonesia’s rainforests, the demise of iconic species such as the Sumatran orangutan and its effects on the global climate.

Artist Ernest Zacharevic

"From the ground, you would not suspect anything more than just another palm oil plantation, the aerial view however reveals an SOS distress signal. ‘Save Our Souls’ is a message communicated to those at a distance, a reminder of the connection we share with nature. As more of the forests are lost, we lose a little bit of ourselves in the process."

In early 2017 Zacharevic curated a series of unique art projects in and around Sumatra as part of Splash and Burn, an art campaign run with Sumatran Orangutan Society which sought to use art in critical areas to give rise to a wider conversation on unsustainable palm oil farming in Southeast Asia.

The concept came to life through months of collaboration between NGO's and charitable organizations; The Orangutan Information Centre, The Sumatran Orangutan Society, LUSH, the involvement of creatives and with help from local communities.


To be able to restore the land for wildlife, the charity first needed to remove the oil palm trees. Seizing the opportunity to send a dramatic message, Zacharevic and his team worked across approximately 20 hectares, carving a giant distress call into the landscape of the plantation.

To create the art work, the scale of the ‘canvas’ was identified using a drone. Using an iPad, the palm trees that would form the final image were marked on the drone photography:


The team then marked each palm tree using ribbons. The chainsaw crew cut down palm trees surrounding the marked trees, gradually revealing the final artwork:



The project was launched on The Guardian and discussed in detail on Montana Cans, This Is Colossal, Insta-Grafite, DesignBoom, Treehugger and was shared on the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation's Instagram.


This project was made with support from and in collaboration with:

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