SAN FRANCISCO — The Bay Area has many murals, with images of everyone from Robin Williams to Nipsey Hussle gracing its buildings. There’s a new name to add to that list: Greta Thunberg.
A mural of the Swedish teenage climate activist, whose movement has caught the attention of the world, is set to be completed Tuesday, Nov. 12.
Located in downtown San Francisco near Union Square (420 Mason Street), the mural features Thunberg from the chest up — gazing straight into our souls, lips pursed.
It’s enough to make anyone stop and consider their environmental impact.
And that’s kind of the point, said Paul Scott, executive director of OneAtmosphere.org — the nonprofit that funded the project.
The organization wanted to focus on art celebrating climate activists, Scott said. When brainstorming people to feature, Thunberg was the first person that came to mind.
“If we can amplify her message and get more people involved and listening to what she’s saying, then we’re doing some good,” Scott said.
The overall feedback was incredibly positive, he said, but the most critical reactions came from those who haven’t recognized her.
“They’re struck by the image and want to learn more,” he said. “If they take the time to learn more about what she’s trying to share, that I think has an impact on most people. Makes them want to help.”
Andrés Petreselli was the artist behind the mural. He also did the city’s Robin Williams one, which is how Scott found his work.
Petreselli donated his time to the cause and said he feels connected to everything Thunberg is doing. She sets examples for the whole world, he said.
“We’re pretty much at the beginning of our extinction, so if we don’t do anything right now, it’s going to be too late,” he said.
It’s not the first mural to the young activist
Thunberg and her message have inspired murals around the world. One in Bristol, England, featuring the activist partly underwater went up earlier in 2019, along with another one in Canada.
Not everyone has been eager to hear her message. The mural in Canada, painted on a “free wall” along a bike path, was defaced twice shortly after it was first created, according to CNN affiliate CBC.
The adversity hasn’t stopped Thunberg, though.
She is best known for her climate strikes, which she began in 2018 outside the Swedish Parliament. Her protest inspired thousands of students around the world to walk out of class and demand action on the climate crisis.
“As it is now, people, in general, don’t seem to be very aware of the actual science and how serious this crisis is,” she said in September during a congressional hearing. “I think we need to inform them and start treating the crisis like the existential threat it is.”