The Portrait of Dreams

Alexandra Climent

We must rise above the feeling that we are not enough. Nature teaches us that uniqueness results in the greatest beauty, which often pushes through all the rest in unexpected ways.

1. Bio

A self-taught environmentalist, explorer, artist, member of the Explorers Club in NYC and founder of Endangered Rainforest Rescue, a non-profit, women- and indigenous-led organisation working to restore the biodiversity of endangered tree species and protect indigenous lands in the Darién Gap area of Panama. Through her work as an artist, she brings new life and visibility to rare tropical woods from endangered species and, at the same time, actively carries out scientific research, with results recognised by the likes of the Smithsonian and the Yale Environmental Institute. The primary objectives of her work are the reforestation of endangered areas, the strengthening of relations with indigenous communities and bridging the disparity of wealth between the north and south of the world.

2. The power of a dream

It all started in college, when ! began chasing my dream of graduating. To pay for my studies I worked full-time in a construction company. Among the other materials, there was this one particularly expensive type of wood. I left for Central America, to learn more about it and in the hope of securing favourable business conditions. But there I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the rainforest. I instantly realised that I did not want to take part in its destruction. My dream transformed: first I longed to give a voice to these unknown and wonderful species through my art, and then, to protect them from extinction. This is what the power of a dream is, it calls you before you even know it. It shifts, along with your awareness, finds new, larger forms and forges in you that strong connection with life, which gives meaning to all existence.

3. My journey into real beauty

It is an intimate journey and at the same time one of exchange. It starts when you fall in love with the forest, passes through works of art inspired by and made from dead wood, from endangered species, transformed after every expert had told me there was no way to transform them. A perfect metaphor to testify that, with the right amount of love, dedication and persistence, every unique element can be enhanced. In teaching myself even what I was told could not be done, I discovered incredible beauty. Beauty in drawing with an open mind from the knowledge of others, learning from real life, outside the classroom. Beauty in the culture of the people of the Darién Gap, which teaches a world based on mutual exchange and not on one side overpowering the other.

4. What I learned and won’t let go

I have experienced that we learn a lot from real life, from people. When something calls us, we have to stop asking ourselves if we are qualified enough, and jump in. We women, especially, must rise above the feeling that we are not enough. Every day, nature teaches us that uniqueness results in the greatest beauty, which often pushes through all the rest in unexpected ways, and that we are full of resources. What I dream of for us is a bigger stage. We deserve more space in which to show our beauty, the beauty that comes from our hearts and abilities. This is an urgency that belongs to the whole world.

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