Esther Sample believes she is the only one from the Comox Valley among 50 artists visiting the Central Coast to portray Canada’s fragile raincoast, which they feel is threatened by the Northern Gateway pipeline.
“I am flying from Vancouver to Bella Bella on June 23 and returning the 28th,” says Sample, whose image Hunger Strikes was chosen last year to appear on the federal fishing licence decal for conservation of wild Pacific salmon.
“I am in a group of 15,” Sample continues. “From Bella Bella, we will board the Achiever and take the six-hour boat trip to the village of Klemtu, where we will stay at the Spirit Bear Lodge.
“While we are there, the Achiever, a popular tour boat, will be taking us on day trips and possibly overnights to various inlets and islands in the area. There will be crews from CBC and Global and the camera crew from our group working on a short documentary.”
From these trips, the artists will all donate one piece to the cause and it will be put into a travelling art show, which will circulate around coastal B.C. and hopefully across Canada, Sample says.
There will also be a coffee table book published titled Canada’s Raincoast at Risk: Art for an Oil‐Free Coast.
Each artist will have two pages. The book and art show should be ready in November.
The objective is for participating artists to draw attention to the potential ecological effects of an Enbridge pipeline and oil tanker traffic.
Fifty artists — some of Canada’s most celebrated, and many who are First Nations — will take up paintbrushes and carving tools to portray Canada’s fragile raincoast.
A network of coastal lodges, tour boat operators and water taxis have donated travel and accommodation so the artists can explore some of the most spectacular and remote locations of the B.C. coast.
Over a two‐week period in June, they will depict the rich biodiversity and integrated, ecological elements of the forest, intertidal, and ocean zones, and the people, flora and fauna that have lived there for thousands of years, organizers said in a news release.
Besides the book, original artworks donated by the artists will become part of a travelling art show to raise public awareness of what is at stake on this spectacular coast and why it needs to be kept oil‐free, they add.
The art‐for‐conservation idea is a recurring brainchild for Tofino artist Mark Hobson, who helped co-ordinate a similar venture in 1989. That project, in association with the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, produced the book Carmanah: Artistic Visions of an Ancient Rainforest, which drew international attention to the Carmanah Valley on Vancouver Island, and led to permanent protection of the area through its designation as a B.C. provincial park.
The current project is being co-ordinated and supported by the Raincoast Conservation Foundation, an organization using scientific research and public education to further protection of coastal ecosystems and wildlife in British Columbia for 15 years.
Among the artists joining the project are Robert Bateman, Robert Davidson, Carol Evans, Roy Henry Vickers, Craig Benson, Michael Svob and Alison Watt.