Artist Transforms Drought-Devastated Land Into An Environmental Statement

Italian artist Dario Gambarin recently took to the barren fields of Veneto, Italy, to create an impactful environmental message.

Using a tractor, a plow and a rotary harrow, Gambarin carved larger-than-life artwork into dry corn and wheat fields, urging Italians to conserve water, Euronews reported. The message, said the network, comes amid the worst drought Italy has experienced in 70 years.

italian artist drought landscape tractor field
Italian artist Dario Gambarin has taken to the barren fields in Veneto, Italy, to create an impactful environmental message.

According to the BBC, the drought—caused by hotter-than-usual temperatures and little rainfall—"threatens more than 30 percent of Italy's agricultural produce." With that in mind, the government declared a state of emergency on Tuesday in five northern regions surrounding the Po River: Emilia Romagna, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Lombardy, Piedmont and Veneto. Additionally, several municipalities announced water rationing.

"The state of emergency is aimed at managing the current situation with extraordinary means and powers," the Italian government said, according to the BBC. Of course, if the situation doesn't improve, the government said it will take "further measures."

For his part, Gambarin created two massive works of art titled "Save Water" and "The Scream of the Corn," both of which were carved into draught-devastated land in the Veneto countryside, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

The first piece consists of a 24,000 square-meter (258,333.85 square-foot)-wide drop of water, that Gambarin said, "envelops the world." Inside the drop, Gambarin also wrote the word "save." For his second piece, created below the first, Gambarin simply carved the word "water" across a 27,000 square-meter (290,625 square-foot) field.

From above, the two pieces work together to relay one message—"save water."

In a statement to the press obtained by the AP, Gambarin said of the artwork: "The images speak for themselves."

As it turns out, the pieces aren't the first works of Gambarin's "tractor art" to make headlines.

Ahead of the G20 Summit in 2017, Gambarin created a 135-meter (443-foot)-wide portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said the AP. And the year prior, in 2016, Gambarin created massive portraits of the then-presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton.

He's also created images of Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama and Pope Francis.

Speaking to the AP about his process, Gambarin said he doesn't measure the fields before driving, "but creates his giant images with a good eye and tractor skills."

Italy in the News

Other Italian news includes a pair of tourists caught smuggling hundreds of pebbles and seashells from the Italian island of Sardinia. According to local regulations, anyone caught smuggling these objects could be fined anywhere between $530 and $3,175.

On June 24, a photographer named Alexis Rosenfeld captured video footage of gas erupting from the magma chamber of an underwater volcano near Sicily, Italy.

"We are at the same time enveloped by the infinite silence of the ocean and in the middle of a Dante-esque spectacle of volcanic chimneys that spit out gasses and burning fluids, a bit like being at the gates of hell. You realize that the Earth is alive," said photographer and explorer Alexis Rosenfeld.

And, Luciano Caldiero, an 80-year-old retiree from the northeastern Italian city of Vicenza, in the Veneto region near Venice, called the police on June 11, explaining that he was feeling lonely since his brothers and his last friend had all passed away.

A unit of Carabinieri, Italy's national police, sent around two officers to spend some time with him. They even returned a few days later, on June 15, to celebrate his 80th birthday with him—and brought along a birthday cake and a gift.