Climate change artwork 'coat of hopes' artist to visit Worthing

Artist Barbara Keal is to visit Worthing to give people the opportunity to become protagonists in the climate breakdown story.

Barbara Keal created the patchwork ‘coat of hopes’, which was made and worn by hundreds of people on a 560-mile pilgrimage from Newhaven to the COP26 UN Climate Summit in Glasgow last year.

Barbara is making an appearance with her piece in Worthing on Monday, May 16, at a free event at Coast Café, in Beach Parade, from 6.30pm to 8pm.

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Each patch is a piece of blanket sewn together in which people wrote their hopes and fears in the face of climate breakdown. There is also a song – ‘The Song of the Coat of Hopes’, written and sung by Barbara – that is traditionally sung whenever a new person puts it on.

Barbara Keal's 'coat of hopes' to showcase people's hopes and fears of the climate crisis

The thought behind putting the coat on is to invite the wearer to feel its weight and warmth and to step briefly into being the protagonist in the climate breakdown story, and for the wearer to speak their own griefs, remembrances, prayers or hopes for their own local area.

Emma Cameron, the event organiser and trustee of the new Worthing Climate Emergency Centre, said she saw the coat online and thought it would be lovely to have it come to the town.

She added: “I think art has a really huge role to play in people expressing themselves, expressing how they feel about the climate crisis and trying to stay hopeful.

"The coat is very beautiful, collaborative piece and I think people who come to this event will be inspired to make something themselves and to express themselves artistically and understand the climate crisis we are in.

"From photos I’ve seen of other people around the country wearing the coat, it seems like a very powerful experience for the wearer as well as Barbara.

“We’d love people to come along and meet Barbara and see the coat. It will be a very exciting opportunity to learn about the project and meet other like minded people.”

To find more about the ‘coat of hopes’, visit www.coatofhopes.uk