One morning, a couple of months ago, memories of my time at Harvard came to mind and inspired me to design and create a chameleon as a tribute to the Office for Sustainability at Harvard University.
I decided to sculpt a chameleon because chameleons have long been a symbol of change, agility and adaptation, reminding us that we should face big challenges wisely: in nimble manner. As Harvard University’s President Drew G. Faust states “what is at stake is nothing less than a change in the culture of how we work and live”.
I named my chameleon sculpture Charles in reference to the Charles river, the 129 km (80 miles) long river that flows through eastern Massachusetts, USA, where it travels past the Harvard University in Boston until it reaches the Atlantic Ocean.
Charles is an environmentally friendly sculpture that finds himself in the midst of a color transition: from Crimson to Green, just as faculty, staff and students at Harvard University are making an effort to confront the “challenges of climate change and sustainability through research and teaching, and by turning research into action on campus in order to model an institutional pathway to a more sustainable future.”
This is in line with the way I recycle and reuse post-use materials in the art pieces I create.
Charles was sculpted with an interior of post-use plastic bags. In retaining trash forever, inside my sculptures, I aim to prevent it from ending up in landfills, be burned, or to be swallowed or eaten by marine wildlife, like sea turtles or whales, thereby killing them.
Charles is now at home by the Charles river, at Harvard University’s Office for Sustainability where I hope he will be continuously inspiring students, staff and faculty to face environmental challenges just as chameleons do in nature; in a nimble manner.
I would like to thank Harvard’s Office for Sustainability for welcoming Charles and for their efforts and commitment to foster a transition towards sustainability.
Davit Nava, Charles, 2015, iron structure, post-use plastic bags, used clothing with white glue, acrylic on clay, wooden toothpicks, crystal beads, 15 x 5.3 x 6 in / 38 x 13.5 x 15 cm