The last time I saw much loved artist, musician and activist Howie Cooke from Surfers from Cetaceans (S4C), was on the streets of Panama City when together S4C, W4W, Sea shepherd and many awesome whale loving NGOS literally brought the City to a halt with our International Whale Celebration outside the IWC (International Whale Commission). We lined the streets with fabric banners showcasing coloured hand prints from all around the world, representing international solidarity and support for the South Atlantic Whale sanctuary (which is still being blocked by Japan, Norway and Iceland) We gathered in Howie’s hand painted Whale Tipi an icon which has traveled to hundreds of countries and IWC’s, mobilizing students, surfers, snorkelers, divers, residents, street artists and kids. We joined spokespeople from NGOS wearing whale suits and danced in the streets with loudspeakers…and yes we made it to local and international news.
All those memories came flooding back as I picked Howie up late one cold Autumn night from the train station in Lagos along the coast of Portugal which is home base for my little family. And true to Howie’s style, by late the next morning (along with a little bit of local activist help from ASMAA) Howie was smiling and shaking the hand of Lagos major (a Woman…of course!!!) with IMMEDIATE permission to paint his mural. Permission like this, especially in Portugal usually takes weeks of paperwork!
In no time at all, the town had residents honking for whales as they drove by Howie painting one of his jaw dropping murals along a center street. From local paint shop who donated a huge amount of free paint for the cause, to the elderly ladies who came by every afternoon on their walk, everyone was touched… as usual Howie managed to bring the magic of whales to the locals here through his art, whilst at the same time making an outspoken statement about oil platforms and fracking on our coast lines here.
In only two days, with the help of some awesome vegan food and some well-timed picnics on the beach…our wall was transformed! And the lovely lady major immediately sent permission for Howie to paint the entire road (the wall stretches for over 1000 meters!) A future project and we will keep you in the loop for that one! In the meantime… the next IWC is Brazil 2018! W4W plans to be there together with Howie and S4C and all the amazing Latino NGO’s working for whales…This is an early invitation…join us, be there for the whales!
The International Whale Celebration is a non profit event aimed at raising awareness about the International Whaling Commission's (IWC)’s annual meeting. We utilize the global media spotlight on the subject of whaling whilst providing a platform of unity for international organizations and activists to stand up for cetaceans.