About Joe Zammit-Lucia
Artist, author, independent scholar and commentator. Intersectionist. Compulsive contrarian. “I take seriously Lyotard’s idea of finding ways to resist the complacent certainties of the expert”.
Joe works at the intersection of many disciplines to explore issues relating to growth, sustainability, and the relationship between how we organize human societies and the relationship with the non-human world around us. His aim is to find ways to re-imagine ‘environmentalism’ which he describes as the politics of our co-existence in the ecosphere on which we all depend.
“We cannot look at ‘environmentalism’ as somehow separate from the mainstream issues affecting our societies. It is all one politics. For this reason I am interested in looking at issues of growth and sustainability through the broad lens of socio-cultural-political questions rather than looking at society through the narrow, green lens of the environment. The latter is, unfortunately, how too many in the environmental movement still see it and why they risk marginalization.”
Promoting Public Discourse
Joe achieves his aims through ‘promoting public discourse’. He is a frequent speaker in many academic and non-academic venues where his aim is to provide perspectives he describes as ‘gently contrarian’. “It’s all to easy to become locked into the group-think of one’s own tribe. I like to challenge any sort of received wisdom.” He authors papers and commentaries on a broad range of issues relating to society, growth, sustainability and the relationship between the human and the non-human.
He has served as Special Adviser to the Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and is currently a member of the IUCN Commission for Education and Communication. He is a member of the Advisory Board for the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida International University. He is the Founder and President of WOLFoundation.org and Board Member of the African Rainforest Conservancy. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Art and Sustainability
As an artist, one of his interests is in the role of the arts in the growth and sustainability debate. He authors a blog entitled The Third Ray (follow on Facebook) focused on art and artists addressing issues of sustainability and our relationship with our environment. “The environmental debate has become trapped in a scientific/technocratic paradigm and will therefore have limited overall effectiveness in our society. The arts and humanities can bring much richness and enhance discussion and understanding.”
In his own artistic work, he is one of the world’s leading animal portrait artists. He works in a photographic medium to explore the concept of animality and the human animal relationship. Examples of this work can be seen at www.jzlimages.com. His work has been exhibited in galleries worldwide, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, at the United Nations Palais de Nations in Geneva and one of his solo exhibitions is currently on tour around Museums in Europe.
In a new body of work he is exploring the question of “What is nature and what does a ‘relationship with nature’ mean in a 21st century world?”
He is both author and photographer for “FIRST STEPS: Conserving Our Environment” based on a United Nations exhibit.
A believer in not having to wait until one dies to benefit from multiple incarnations, Joe has had a number of previous lives. He was a practicing physician and gastroenterologist, a business executive and an entrepreneur who founded an international company that became, and remains, the market leader in its field.