Two BC Artists pick up brushes to paint in protest against proposed Northern Gateway Project
The following information is from a June 12, 2012 press release issued by the Lloyd Gallery. Images of the artists work appear below:
Two British Columbian artists are picking up their brushes to paint in protest against the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Project.
Glenn Clark, a 53-year-old Penticton landscape artist, conceived of this art and protest project, entitled Abandoning Paradise, when he realized that a ban on oil tankers traveling off the west coast was a realistic goal. The project won support from a British Columbia Arts Council Project Grant received by Clark this year.
For the last 37 years, Canada has had an unofficial moratorium on oil tankers traveling along B.C.’s northern coast to protect this region from oil spills. This ban is now under threat, says Clark, as Calgary-based Enbridge, Inc. has identified Kitimat as an ideal location for a tanker port to transport oil and condensate to Asia and the western United States. Enbridge is also planning a multi-billion-dollar twin pipeline system running from near Edmonton, Alberta, to the proposed marine terminal in Kitimat.
Clark says that this may be the last opportunity to document the pristine landscape between Tumbler Ridge and Kitimat, along the proposed pipeline’s route. Peter Corbett, a fish biologist and successful landscape painter, is joining Clark on this expedition. They expect to produce more than 150 small paintings, some of which will be used to create larger studio paintings. For Peter Corbett, the decision to take the leap was an easy one. "As a fish biologist, I feel the government and resource industries do not take scientific evidence adequately into account in their decision making process. Maybe as an artist I will have better chance to reach out to more people and help change the way we view our landscape and its resources"
Clark and Corbett will cover roughly 1000 kilometers over four trips, one to document each season. “There is a strong tradition of painters coming together to document Canada’s landscape through small sketches,” says Clark. “Peter and I have been friends and painted together for five years. We are 100% compatible in the field, and we both work on 8-by-10-inch panels in oils.”
This June, when the project begins, the artists will work first with the Gitga’at First Nations living around Kitimat to gain knowledge of the areas most at risk. Clark says that one focus will be the Great Bear Rainforest, which covers roughly 70,000 km2 and is one of the world’s most sensitive ecological regions. Paintings of this rainforest, as well those of the pipeline’s route through the Rocky Mountains], will form a body of work Clark and Corbett will exhibit throughout British Columbia.
“The goal is to have a show that tours public and private art galleries throughout the province,” says Clark. “We want to educate the public about the risks associated with the Gateway Project. It is vitally important that people, especially British Columbians, understand the risks involved in using B.C.’s coastline as a shipping lane for as many as 225 oil tankers annually. “If this tanker port is built, these oil tankers will pose a significant threat to this coastline.”
According to Clark, there is a strong history of British Columbian artists coming together to fight for the environment. He recalls that artists were involved in the transformation of the Sitka Spruce rainforest on Vancouver Island into the protected Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park. He adds that another group of artists contributed to the establishment of the Gwaii Haanas (South Moresby) National Park Reserve, on Haida Gwaii.
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