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Norwich graduate displays art of climate change 

Melissa Ilboudo, a Masters graduate from the University of East Anglia, has partnered with her husband to create an impactful exhibition on climate change.

‘Climate Change: from Earth to Space’ is a collection of paintings by her artist husband Coffi Toussaint Charbel Houadjeto, alias C.Coffi. It is currently on display in Cotonou, Benin, where the couple live with their children.


While studying International Development at the University of East Anglia, Melissa attended Norwich Family Life Church, and the exhibition expresses the shared faith of the couple, the source of inspiration necessary to complete the project.


After leaving Norwich Melissa attended the Rio +20 Earth Summit on Sustainable Development in Brazil, and worked in Geneva on adaptation to climate change. 


In 2018 she launched her own company, Climate Synergy Consulting, using her married name, RM Melissa Ilboudo Houadjeto. In 2021 she helped to prepare the position of G77 + China on climate change during the negotiation process at the United Nations General Assembly 2nd Commission. She formed part of a team of experts supporting Guinea, which was playing a leading role that year.


Since childhood her husband C.Coffi had been nurturing a dream of sharing his vision with others through his many talents, his paintbrushes, his canvases and, above all, the colours of his fertile imagination.


It all came together in the Cotonou exhibition, where the artist explores how water pollution, and the exploitation of the Earth’s resources, are accelerating the process of climate change.


The rippling blues, mauves and violets of his paintings recall the threatened waters of the planet, while an indecipherable script covering many of the canvases evokes the way in which conventions pile up words while the environment continues to deteriorate.


While so often people seek to communicate a sense of urgency about climate change through words and numbers, the couple have demonstrated that you can do it an powerful way through colour and canvas.


Pictured above is Melissa at the exhibition in Cotonou. Right is her husband C.Coffi in front of one of his paintings, and below, visitors to the exhibition.






Eldred Willey, 25/01/2023

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