Amidst a crowd, volunteers meticulously sweep the vast marble terrace with large round brooms against a backdrop golden pagodas
Arts & Culture
Spring 2024
Summer 2024

Common Home Arts Showcase 2024

Fatigue, courage, futility, hope and perseverance: the Earth Commons and its Common Home magazine welcome the Georgetown community to express their feelings about our changing world and its inhabitants through the Common Home Arts Showcase.

2024 Theme: Life on Earth—Wildlife, People & Landscapes

The 2024 theme for the Common Home Arts Showcase was “Life on Earth,” inviting photographers to depict the beauty of wildlife, celebrate diverse cultures, and to express their views on the environment and sustainability through original, compelling photography in three categories: Wildlife, People and Landscapes.


A bright, dramatically-colored green and blue hummingbird perched on a branch with tropical plants in the background

“Colibrí Perchado” by Sergio Rodriguez Cifuentes

“I took this photo one day while walking in my house’s backyard in Bogotá, Colombia. Seeing birds in my backyard became the gateway for a deeper interest in photographing the world around me. Pictured is a Sparkling Violetear.”

A dolphin holding a sponge surfaces in slick blue water

“Showoff!” by Meredith MacQueeney

In Shark Bay, Western Australia, a dolphin named Whopper ascends with a very special lump around her beak—a sponge tool. “Spongers” choose a round, basket-shaped sponge from the seafloor and wear it like a glove while they ferret out bottom-dwelling fish. Wearing the sponge likely protects the skin from abrasion and spiny fish. Sponging is a highly specialized foraging tactic utilized by only a small group of dolphins in Shark Bay. This tactic develops much later than other foraging tactics and sponging skills must be honed over decades. Mothers pass down the tradition to their calves. Interestingly, all daughters will learn the technique from their mothers but only about half of sons become spongers. The mother-calf bond is fundamental to all dolphin and whales societies, where mothers hold ecological knowledge and maintain their unique cultures. Whopper loves to approach our research vessel and “bow-ride” the pressure wave we generate. She frequently brings her sponges along with her, giving us a peek into her rapidly changing world. Human and animal cultures worldwide are threatened by climate change; but for now, Whopper spends her days swimming gracefully through the cerulean blue and showing off her carefully selected sponges.


Amidst the hustle and bustle of a crowd, volunteers meticulously sweep the vast marble terrace with large round brooms against a backdrop golden pagodas

“Merit” by Yoon Yati Oo

As Myanmar’s most sacred Buddhist site, the Shwedagon Pagoda garners hundreds of visitors daily, both local and foreign. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the crowd, a serene spectacle unfolds each evening as a dedicated group of volunteers meticulously sweep the vast marble terrace. Their synchronized efforts symbolize not just cleanliness, but a meritorious devotion to the preservation of the pagoda’s sanctity.

Protestors with their backs turned to us. In the foreground, a person wears a dark blue hoodie that features the headshot of Bisan Owda

“Bisan Owda” by Samraa Smadi

Bisan epitomizes the essence of resilience amid adversity, serving as a beacon of hope in times of darkness. While addressing environmental crises is crucial, we must prioritize the plight of individuals, particularly the most vulnerable, who bear the brunt of human-caused suffering. Environmental advocacy must encompass a deep love and empathy for humanity. Let us remember that our fight for justice extends to all beings, including people, children, and those burdened by hardship. True activism requires us to listen to the voices of those in need and stand in solidarity with them.


A pink, purple, and yellow sunrise over purple-tinted, snowy mountain peaks

“Sunrise on Everest” by Katie Meyer

“The world was silent atop Kala Patthar, Nepal – only my breathing kept me company. Each arduous step was followed by an equally arduous breath in the oxygen-deprived air. As I paused to grab my water bottle, I momentarily diverted my gaze from the path and gasped at the view. There, in front of me, was sunrise over Mount Everest. The highest place on Earth was illuminated in purples and yellows, emerging from darkness, signaling to the world that it was dawn. I found myself humbled by the the silent fortitude of the Himalayas, awed at the power and beauty she possessed.”

A cloud of volcano smoke with gray volcanic rocks in the foreground and a dramatically teal ocean bay in the background

“Ijen Volcano, Indonesia” by Ksenia Dubova

This photograph shows the rugged terrain of Mount Ijen, an active volcano located in East Java, Indonesia. It is renowned for its visually striking blue fire, a result of sulfuric gases igniting as they escape into the atmosphere. The main feature is the large acidic crater lake that possesses a surreal turquoise hue, contrasting sharply with the surrounding barren landscape. In this otherworldly setting, Indonesian workers engage in sulfur mining, enduring harsh conditions to extract the valuable mineral.

“I saw this terrain after the exhausting night hiking and the image stuck with me forever. The raw beauty of this scene is a testament to Earth’s dynamic forces at work.”