Press Release


(MIAMI, FL. OCT. 26, 2021) – Artist Xavier Cortada launches his newest socially engaged art project, “HELLO,” ahead of the 26th Annual United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. Thousands of name tags to be distributed during the conference ask participants to define themselves not by their first names, but by their fears, hopes, purposes, futures, and elevations above sea level to spark conversations about the climate crisis’ impact on vulnerable communities around the world.

Despite the over four thousand mile distance between Miami and Glasgow, the University of Miami Department of Art and Art History Professor of Practice wants residents to get involved in the international conference. With Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava as the first participant during the launch of her Climate Action Strategy, “HELLO” will serve as a platform to elevate local voices and connect those on-site with the global community online. Through this process, Cortada urges world leaders to realize the weight of the decisions they will make during the conference and hopes we can reframe the way we see one another and our collective vulnerability, specifically to the risks associated with sea level rise.

“I want the delegates in attendance to understand that the decisions they make over the next two weeks will impact the lives of every single one of my neighbors,” Cortada stated. “I want to introduce the world leaders to them. I want COP26 to know what Miamians fear and hope for.”

At, participants can “fill out” their name tags so that their messages may be amplified to policy makers, business leaders and other attendees during the days of the conference.

The art project takes his celebrated “Underwater Homeowners Association” as a point of departure, where participants turn political yard signs into markers indicating their home’s elevation above sea level. Similarly on one “HELLO” name tag, participants will indicate their elevation, which in Miami averages around 6 feet.

Four other name tags ask participants to introduce themselves by completing the statements: my fear is…; my hope is…; my purpose is…; and my future is… The background of each “HELLO” name tag is a different painting from Cortada’s Antarctic Ice Paintings series. He created these works using sea ice and sediment samples provided to him by scientists working in Antarctica in 2007 as a National Science Foundation Antarctic Artists and Writers Fellow.

Cortada will present his “HELLO” participatory art project at the end of Mayor Levine Cava’s press conference at the Port of Miami on Oct. 27, 2021 at 10 a.m., inviting her to fill out and wear the first name tag. The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as Conference of the Parties or COP26, takes place Nov. 1 to Nov. 12 in Glasgow, Scotland. 



Genesis Cosme
Cortada Studio
Communications Associate

For images, more information or interviews, please contact Genesis Cosme at Cortada Studio,

For nearly three decades, the United Nations has brought together almost every country on earth for an annual global climate summit – called COPs – which stands for ‘Conference of the Parties.’ With the UK as President, the 26th annual summit, COP26, takes place in Glasgow. More than 190 world leaders are expected to arrive in Scotland this November, and together with tens of thousands of negotiators, government representatives, businesses and citizens, will engage in a series of talks across twelve days. 

During COP21 in Paris in 2015 (Cortada created CLIMA during this time), every country agreed to work together to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees and aim for 1.5 degrees to adapt to the impacts of a changing climate and to make money available to deliver on these aims. This consensus birthed the Paris Agreement, but the commitments laid out did not come close to limiting global temperatures and the window for achieving this is closing. The run up to this year’s summit in Glasgow is the moment (delayed by a year due to the pandemic) when countries update their plans for reducing emissions as the decade out to 2030 will be most crucial in mitigating the impacts of climate change. Learn more about the conference at

Xavier Cortada is an artist and professor of practice at the University of Miami Department of Art and Art History, with secondary appointments to the University of Miami School of Law and the MIller School of Medicine. Over the past three decades, the Cuban-American artist has created art at the North and South poles and across 6 continents, including more than 150 public art pieces and dozens of installations, collaborative murals and socially engaged projects. The crux of Cortada’s work finds itself rooted in a deep conceptual engagement of his participants. Particularly environmentally focused, the work Cortada develops is intended to generate awareness and action towards issues of global climate change. Learn more at