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Artists and Innovators Across Time and their Environmental Influences

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This three-part collection will explore many of the different ways that the people from the past and present, and their communities, understood nature and its importance to their way of life. Many artists and innovators from ancient times to the present have come to rely on the environment and items found there to complete great works that are enjoyed by many. Ancient Egyptians, for example, were known for worshiping various gods, and many of them were believed to be in total control of the weather and the natural environment of Egypt. It was very important to these people that they lived their lives in such a way that would please the gods so as to be able to live in harmony with the gods and also with their environment. Astronomy was a large influence on their building designs and many structures were created to be aligned with stars and constellations. Ancient Egyptians however, were not the the only people to study the stars and planets as we will see in the early Islamic civilization. These people were also very interested in astronomy, and although it was also partly for religious purposes, it was not to appease various gods but instead it was to make sure they were praying to Mecca in the right direction and at the right times of day. 

Tiles in the first two collections will show that past civilizations were very interested in the natural environment around them and figured out ways for using things such as flooding to their advantage. Ancient Egyptians used plants such as papyrus reeds to form a type of paper that could be used to write on and they also made instruments from reeds that grew along the Nile River. They also came up with a writing system known as hieroglyphics that was created as a way to communicate and write important things down. Within these hieroglyphics we can see reeds, birds, and other things found in nature. The art in this part of the world was consistently showcasing everyday life and a large part of that had to do with animals and the land the Ancient Egyptians called home. Early Islamic people used various materials found in their own environment to build large stone statues. They became experts at making mosaic and tiles, and took advantage of scarce wood that was rare in this part of the world to build furniture among other items. Like the Egyptians, this civilization appreciated beauty and pleasant fragrance. Because of this, early Muslims were some of the first people who used flowers and plants to produce perfume. 

Tiles from the third collection focus more on the people of today and their use of nature and overall respect for the planet when creating art. Whether talking about Abstract Expressionism and its suggestion of a flowering limb in a painting, or a touching song written by a Pop Culture icon from Late Modern Music that pleads with us to listen to the Earth, our planet, our environment, and the beauty that surrounds us continue to provide inspiration for many types of artists all across the world. 

This collection as a whole is meant to be a helpful tool for anyone who is interested in learning about how humans, specifically artists and designers, from the past as well as the present, show respect for nature and their attempts work with it, not against it. It will hopefully serve as a reminder to anyone who reads it that this respect for our environment should be just as important now as it was to the past civilizations. We have much to learn from the artists who provide their vision and their ability to conserve and cherish the Earth while creating works that inspire people near and far.