The aesthetics of environmental erasure—of what goes, what remains, and what is brought back to us on the tide.
Kevin Adonis Browne is a Caribbean American photographer, writer, and speaker. His award-winning visual and written work exist at the intersection of fine art, documentary, street photography, creative nonfiction, and memoir in what he calls: A discourse on the legacies of light as a way to understand the poetics of Caribbean culture.”
Born in Trinidad and Tobago, he attended Presentation College in the southern city of San Fernando. In 1990, he emigrated to the United States, settling in the Bronx and Brooklyn. In 2003, he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in English at Medgar Evers College (CUNY) in Brooklyn, later earning a Master of Arts in English in 2006 and a PhD in English in 2009 from The Pennsylvania State University. He has taught at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Syracuse University, and Bentley University. In 2017, he returned to Trinidad and Tobago, where he teaches at the University of the West Indies (St. Augustine). He is co-founder of the Caribbean Memory Project and is the author of two books: Tropic Tendencies: Rhetoric, Popular Culture, and the Anglophone Caribbean (2013) and HIGH MAS: Carnival and the Poetics of Caribbean Culture (2018), which won the prestigious Bocas Prize in Caribbean Literature in 2019. Following a successful launch in the streets of Port of Spain, Trinidad, he has had solo exhibitions in the United States and the United Kingdom.
THE BLUE LINE
La ligne bleue (maquette, 2013)
Inkjet print on paper, 44 x 85 cm (17 x 33.5 inches)
The Blue Line Project proposes to draw a line of blue light across the night skyline of Lower Manhattan. Positioned at 65 meters¹ (213 feet) from the ground, the height of the glowing line will correspond to the projected sea level if all of the ice on the planet were to melt. Such a scenario is symbolic rather than realistic, since it does not relate to a scientifically predicted event as such, but acts instead to strongly promote environmental awareness.
This image represents an ambitious project that solicits the cooperation of building owners and managers as well as residents, tenants and their employees in a visually contiguous series of buildings in the Financial District. The project constitutes an invitation for a collaborative undertaking to realize a striking and poetic visual art work. At the same time, the simple fact of participating will engage those involved in a pertinent conversation about sustainability. In this context, the choice of artistic intervention is one that operates from inside the urban architecture, creating a visual effect that engages the public space of the city outside.
1 Bamber, J. L., Aspinall, J. L. An expert judgement assessment of future sea level rise from the ice sheets. Nature Climate Change 3, 424–427 (2013)
Aude Moreau holds a Masters in Visual Arts and Media from the Université du Québec à Montréal, and has developed a practice that encompasses her dual training in scenography and the visual arts. Moreau’s work has been exhibited in Canada and internationally. Recent solo exhibitions have been held at the Canadian Cultural Centre, Paris (2015); galerie antoine ertaskiran, Montreal (2015); Galerie de l'UQAM, Montreal (2015); Smack Mellon, Brooklyn (2013); Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal (2012); Casino Luxembourg - Forum d'art contemporain (2009); and the Darling Foundry, Montreal (2008). She has received awards including the Claudine and Stephen Bronfman Fellowship in Contemporary Art, Montreal (2011), the Powerhouse Prize from La Centrale, Montreal (2011) and the Prix Louis Comtois, Montreal (2016). Her work is part of the collection of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (2013) and of the Canada Council Art Bank (2006). Aude Moreau lives and works in Montreal.
She is represented by Bradley Ertaskiran.
I am from Nunatsiavut (in Labrador). We Inuit have always been known as “Sikumiut; People of the Sea”, meaning that we lived and survived by the sea ice as a means for subsistence, travel, traditional cultural practices (as well as contemporary). In the four Inuit Regions Nunatsiavut (in Labrador), Nunavik (in Arctic Quebec), Nunavut and Inuvialuit Settlement Region in the Western Arctic, we see the most effects of ice loss due to climate change.
Each year it takes longer for ice to form and as a result, hunter and trappers and community members are not able to go out on the ice or land, leading to less food for both hunter and community. Our Ice is melting and we are all at fault (humanity). We have no one else to blame but us and humans are contributing to loss of practices, changes in animal migration, traditions, community well-being, less time on the land and less interaction with the environment.
As an Inuk living in Ottawa, I ask myself, do people really understand the potential and real risk of climate change? How is it affecting our regions, our lives and our environment. Do we understand the consequences and effects associated with melting snow and ice; natural disasters, time, awareness, funding and polices or lack of them. Who is talking about it, who is concerned about it, and what are we going to do as a result of it? The images selected from my Ice Works is an attempt to bring awareness to and of climate change and global warming from an urban Inuk artist’s perspective.
Below are selected images from De-Iced photo series, on-going project
** Two of the photographs from the series, Policy Gone Awry and After the Melt, are part of the upcoming group exhibition Qautamaat | Every day / everyday at the Art Gallery of Guelph
Barry Pottle is an Inuk artist from Nunatsiavut in Labrador (Rigolet), now living in Ottawa, Ontario. He has worked with the Indigenous arts community for many years particularly in the city of Ottawa. Barry has always been interested in photography as a medium of artistic expression and as a way of exploring the world around him. Living in Ottawa, which has the largest urban population of Inuit outside the North, Barry has been able to stay connected to the greater Inuit community.
Through the camera’s len, Barry showcases the uniqueness of this community. Whether it is at a cultural gathering, family outings or the solitude of nature that photography allows, he captures the essence of Inuit life in Ottawa. From a regional perspective, living in the Nation’s Capital allows him to travel throughout the valley and beyond to explore and photograph people, places and events.
He believes that the concept of Urban Inuit is relatively new and for the most part unexplored (compared to other Urban Indigenous groups in Canada) so as an artist, he seeks to articulate this. “The camera,” he shares, “allows me to explore connection and continuity with my heritage and culture especially with regards to the contemporary reality of being an Urban Inuk.”
Barry’s photos have been published in a variety of magazines (Makivik Magazine, Inuktitut Magazine, Inuit Art Quarterly) and he has also contributed images to a number of community initiatives.
Pretty Paws is an on-going series of miniature graphite drawings, depicting severed beaver hands and feet with manicured nails. This series accentuates the natural lengthy shape of beaver claws by applying playful, over-the-top nail art. These nails embrace the kitsch, meaning excessive and tacky ornamentation, which is absurd on both beaver hands and as a beauty standard for women. The application of this artificial beauty onto the decaying beaver appendages creates an uneasy tension by referring to the outstanding issue of cosmetic testing on animals.
Sarah Pereux is a Canadian artist currently working in Toronto, Ontario. She is an undergraduate student in the joint Art and Art History program at the University of Toronto Mississauga and Sheridan College. Working primarily in drawing, her work explores questions concerning environmental ethics, consumerism, and empathy. She uses the alluring aesthetics of monochromatic graphite to create an attraction-repulsion effect that occurs once the viewer dissects the subject-matter of the image.
2030 SURVIVAL GUIDE (TIP #19): FIELD DRESSING
Poster by artist Jen Rae with illustration by Indie Laden.
Commissioned for the Climarte Poster Project II (2019), the poster is a visual double entendre and a provocation to consider a future impacted by climate change from a disaster preparedness perspective. The illustration provides basic instructions on how to field dress a rabbit in case of food scarcity. It also brings to the fore questions around the abdication of climate action and responsibility by the global elite; altruism and population control; and, international food security. The most rigorous scientific report published in human history states we only have 11 years to curb run-away climate change and collapse. Some are preparing for the worst better than others in the game of ‘survival of the richest’. For instance, billionaires are investing in prime farmland globally; ‘doomsday bunkers’ are now hot real estate for rich ‘preppers’; and, most apocalyptic survival guides are written by and for middle-class, often middle-aged, white men. What does that mean for commoners? Disasters heighten disadvantage. By the time the elite take action, it might be too late for most commoners.
Excerpt from the CLIMARTE POSTER PROJECT II (2019), curated by Will Foster
Dr. Jen Rae is a Narrm (Melbourne)-based artist-researcher of Canadian Métis-Scottish descent engaged in the discursive field of contemporary environmental art and a scholar in arts-based environmental communication. Her creative practice and research interests centre around food systems knowledge, disaster scenarios and ecological futures thinking via transdisciplinary collaborative methodologies and community engagement. Jen is a multi-art-form artist including public art, drawing, animation and cookery.
Indie Ladan is a Melbourne-based illustrator and freelance graphic designer with more than ten years experience in the industry, designing and consulting for corporate and non-profit organisations as well as local businesses. Her recent projects include branding designs, illustrations, website designs, photography, social media management, art direction, signage design and many more.
SEVEN IMAGES FROM THE SERIES 'ENDANGERED.'
Butternutbutternut creates art inspired by conscious living, a bright and quirky take on a utopia where animals and humans coexist in harmony. For this series, Endangered, I wanted to hero endangered species to bring awareness to the alarming reduction in population. When we think of tigers, rhinos, orangutans, the general understanding is that they exist, freely, in the wild, but the truth is that we are close to extinction, and they only exist in conservation areas. This series in meant to humanize these animals, hence they are shown on human bodies, and start the dialogue on what we can do to help them, whether through mindful tourism, conscious buying of goods and services or donations. Over continued years of illegal trade, poaching, deforestation, and climate change, we are responsible for this tragedy, and now we need mass awareness to help save these species.
Butternutbutternut was started in 2018 by Shinjini Sur, a self-taught artist. Shin's vision is to create art inspired by conscious living - bright, fun, and quirky pieces critiquing social norms. Her iconic work shows animals on human bodies to personify and humanize them, ultimately bringing to life a utopian world where humans and animals coexist in harmony. She is currently experimenting with new materials and home decor - check out butternutbutternut.com for more of her work. *20% of all proceeds from shopping this collection goes to the World Wildlife Fund in support of endangered, critically endangered, and vulnerable animals.*
HOPE OF THE HUMMINGBIRD
For the past decade, severe wind storms have battered the little community I live in on the Pacific Coast.
Leg-thick tree limbs have busted roofs, littered lawns, flattened bushes, and felled old trees in our adjoining forest.
This spectre is climate change. Elsewhere, the world is burning. What can one person do?
Our solution is simple. During fall, we hang up a hummingbird feeder, seed feeders for larger birds, and a suet feeder for winter. We nourish the most vulnerable creatures of the forest, without discouraging their natural ability to forage.
The small, bright glow of hope of our hummingbird friends inspired this poetic honouring:
Shimmering red tweed on green
our tiny guest
wings beat time
its needle dips deep
into the slit of our offered feeder’s
yellow plastic petals
your forest retreat thinned
our serving a small buffer
against a grievous global surge
of natural tragedies
one shock-absorber stands firm
"A Vortex" previously published in print in Otoliths, issue fifty, part two, southern winter, 2018 and online at the-otolith.blogspot.com
"Hope of the Hummingbird" first published by Elephant Journal, September 25, 2019
Elaine Woo has long engaged in the discourse on environmental justice through her poetry and visual art. She would like to see many more join in and take action in ways, big or small, as able. She is the author of the collections Put Your Hand in Mine, 2019 and Cycling with the Dragon, 2014.
ARTWORK BY JESSICA JOY HIEMSTRA
POEMS BY KATHRYN MOCKLER
Part of a series of cathartic reactions to Kathryn Mockler's #thisisntaconversation poems: searing, pithy, moving and funny snippets of writing that put a finger on our collective nerve around climate crisis. Kathryn and I decided that we wanted to donate 100% of the proceeds from these prints to Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge, a registered charity based in Georgina, Ontario. Licensed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Canadian Wildlife Services, SOH serves the GTA and areas throughout the South Central Ontario corridor. Their mandate: to nurture and rehabilitate injured and orphaned native wildlife with the goal of releasing healthy animals back into their natural habitats.
Prints are available for purchase from this series, and 100% of the proceeds go to Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge.
Jessica Joy Hiemstra likes what Paul Klee once said about art – that one eye sees, the other feels. Jessica works in a variety of mediums on many kinds of surfaces - from watercolour and thread on paper to acrylic on acetate to plastic bags sewn into canvas. Jessica’s also a poet and designer. One of the things people often ask Jessica is “what’s the difference between all the things you do?” Jessica doesn’t distinguish much between her mediums. She just chooses the best medium for exploring whichever question, concern or exaltation is most pressing to her in the moment - from delight in the body to sorrow and anger at how poorly we care for our world and each other. Sometimes she uses words, sometimes pencil, sometimes paint. A selection of Jessica’s work is available as limited, signed prints in Jessica’s online shop.
Kathryn Mockler is the author of four books of poetry and six short films. She is the Editor of Watch Your Head, Canada Editor of Joyland Magazine, Publisher of The Rusty Toque from 2011-2017, and she teaches creative writing at Western University. She has a poetry chapbook written in collaboration with Gary Barwin forthcoming from Knife | Fork | Book (2020) and her debut collection of stories forthcoming from Book*hug (2121). She is working on a TV series pilot called Yardbird.
An anthology of creative works devoted to the climate crisis and climate justice.
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