Ecological Art Initiative


Blue Ribbon, Hungary, 2019


PAD Foundation for Environmental Justice (Berecz Diána, Bozzai Dániel, Bubla Éva) & Gosztola Kitti, Horváth Olivér

Photo: Neogrády-Kiss Barnabás


Art & ecology initiative #szabadonbalaton (English: #freebalaton) aims to raise public awareness about the ecological needs and risks of Lake Balaton, Hungary, in the framework of a cross-sectoral collaboration of PAD Foundation for Enviromental Justice and invited artists, Trinity Enviro Ltd. and the Balaton Limnological Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Science.


Aerial images by the Balaton Limnological Institute examined the long-term changes of the reed wetland areas and demonstrated that a permanently high water level results in reed die-back, while fluctuating water level is essential for maintaining the healthy ecosystem of the wetlands. Otherwise, the coherent reed areas disintegrate into islands and disappear from deeper waters, which process is already visible due to current water management policies. The condition of the reed is of crucial importance both in terms of the preservation of the landscape character of Lake Balaton and its ecosystem services. 


During the 51st Blue Ribbon, our competing boat Hannibal serves as a visual platform to raise public awareness about the issue among the participants and the audience of the competition, who are both crucial “users” of the lake. The boat’s sails hide in thick reed pattern to call our attention to the importance of the wetlands and their conservation. Further participants of the race receive a supporter sticker depicting a slice of the pattern, which can be placed on their sails as a sign of consent.