Solastalgia by Maya Adams

"Every colour, every stroke, every pixel and piece of wood will give you a different story. I like stories. I use a combination of these things and a dash of intuition to pull these stories out of a canvas."

Maya Adams is a Ugandan-American artist exploring different modes of being in a world whose physical and social climate is rapidly changing. She is interested in how stories of the past and stories of the present interact and shape our ideas of what the future can be. Her previous work has touched upon concepts of ecological grief, climate justice, and expressions of liminality or “inbetween-ness” in race and gender.

Maya explores multiple styles and mediums of expression and some of her pieces have manifested through painting, film, photography, illustration, sculpture, installation and poetry. Her artwork has been featured in spaces including the NYUAD Gallery Space, The Gazelle, Electra Street, The Oxford Society for Art and Ecology's Flute and Bowl, and Anthroposphere: the Oxford Climate Review.

Maya is currently studying for an MSc in Environmental Change and Management at the University of Oxford.

Solastalgia shares Maya's personal journey in trying to understand what it means to live in a drastically changing climate. Inspired by Dr. Glen Albrecht's studies on environmental grief, Solastalgia explores the psychic or existential stress that is induced by the negative aspects of climate change.

Painting of woman in multicoloured shawl


Longing has a figurative style and colour scheme inspired by Gustav Klimt’s Hope ll. Longing serves two purposes. Firstly it is a response to a search for vindication for participating in a system that harms both human and non-human. The motherly figure holds out a tulip over a child’s head as a sign of forgiveness, but the presence of the yellow coneflower and the cacti are reminders of the loss and destruction that is happening to fellow animal and flora species. Secondly, it aims to create a space where black bodies are celebrated and perceived to be part of the standard, as opposed to being exotic or hidden.


The Grey Children painting, grey sky, children playing at bottom

The Grey Children

The Grey children was inspired by a feeling of silent foreboding for the future due to the harsh realities climate change and environmental degradation pose. In many ways these figures stand in a liminal space of what was, what is, and peer out to what is to come. this piece meditates on the potential that society has for transformation; be it radically regenerative, or degenerative. 


Bonds Painting, woman in white dress with flowers growing behind her


Bonds expresses interspecies symbiotic relationships and portrays notions of attachment and loss. It explores the relationship between human and non human beings and how dependent they are on each other in what Donna Haraway calls a multi-species Muddle. 


To learn more about Maya's work, please visit her website