A painter’s spontaneous reaction to slaughter of dolphins shown in The Cove turns into a movement for protecting ocean life
guardian.co.uk/environment/blog - After watching a documentary about the annual slaughter of 23,000 dolphins that takes place in Taiji, Japan, Filipino artist and environmental activist AG Sano was so overcome with emotion that he quit his job and dedicated himself to giving life back to these dolphins, one painted wall at a time.
“I could not sleep after seeing The Cove because of the images we saw. I tapped into the emotions flowing the next morning, looked for spare paint, asked a friend if I could paint his wall and he said yes,” recalls Sano.
Images of the dolphin mural were posted on Facebook, a complete stranger soon called Sano offering his house as a canvas and the momentum was born. As the invitations from strangers poured in and Sano travelled around the country with paint and brush, the site of a man painting dolphins caught people’s attention, sparked their curiosity and their participation.
“Everyone who walked by – whether policeman, businessman, politicians, street cleaners – would stop, watch for a while and then start asking questions. I would explain my advocacy, offer them a paintbrush, and soon they would start helping me,” says Sano.
Twenty months later, a spontaneous reaction fuelled by one man’s anger and sadness has evolved into an awareness campaign involving over 35,000 dolphins painted on more than 200 walls – from schools to houses to public buildings, and involving more than 25,000 volunteers.
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