Artists join forces to protect Great Bear Rainforest
Fifty prominent Canadian artists will sketch, paint and carve in the Great Bear Rainforest to draw attention to the threat it faces from Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline.
Gabriolan artist Harold Allanson numbers among the Artists for an Oil-free Coast, spearheaded by Tofino artist Mark Hobson. (to the right, Halibut Catcher by Harold Allanson)
“There’s too much to lose,” said Harold of the proposed pipeline and tanker traffic.
“The Great Bear Rainforest has developed into a huge attraction tourist-wise and environmentally wise for people to come and see. An oil spill would really be devastating.”
Artists and a video crew will visit over a two-week period. Harold’s cohort heads up on June 23 for six days, flying out of Vancouver to Bella Bella, then taking a six-hour sailboat trip aboard the Achiever to Klemtu. They will stay at the Spirit Bear Lodge, one of several lodges, tour boat operators and businesses supporting the project.
Artists will produce sketches and reference material in the wilderness of the Great Bear Rainforest, home of the Kermode ‘spirit’ bear and 25 per cent of the earth’s remaining ancient coastal temperate rainforests.
Original pieces, including artwork from painters and carvers like Harold, Carol Evans, Roy Henry Vickers and Craig Benson, will travel in a cross-country exhibit. All works will be for sale online. Photographic reproductions and prose and poetry will be included in a book to be published this fall. Proceeds from artwork and book sales will go to Raincoast Conservation Foundation to help offset costs incurred from the project.
“Art has been used many times to alert the public on issues like this, particularly environmental ones,” said Harold.
“I hope that [being a part of this] will hopefully have other people sit up and take notice and do something in whatever way they can to try and stop this.”