WHY ART AND ACTIVISM GOES BETTER TOGETHER THAN OIL AND WATER
Gabriel Saloman and Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion (BROKE)
Saturday, April 12, 10am-4pm
Presented by UNIT/PITT Projects as part of Collective Walks/Spaces of Contestation curated by Mariane Bourcheix-Laporte
In the Summer of 2013, Vancouver based artist Gabriel Saloman had a vision of taking a Spring-time walk with a few dozen folks along the existing and proposed pipeline route in Burnaby. After approaching Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder-Morgan Expansion (BROKE) to collaborate, that humble walk has become a whole lot more than anyone expected. The result of months of research, workshops, planning and outreach will be evident on Saturday, April 12 when the People’s Procession & Rally Against the Pipelines snakes its way through Burnaby neighborhoods that are directly effected by the TransMountain pipeline, tank farm and refinery.
The People’s Procession will begin at 10:00am with an opening ceremony in Forest Grove Park. The walkers will follow the existing Kinder-Morgan pipeline route heading west, stopping briefly for a rest in Squint Lake Park, before winding its way north to where a large rally will take place at 1:00pm in Westridge Park, near the site of 2007’s massive pipeline rupture. The rally will feature music, speakers (including Burnaby MP Kennedy Stewart, Ben West of Forest Ethics and others), poetry, comedy and more. From there the procession will conclude it’s journey to Westridge Marine Terminal, “the end of the line” for tar sands shipments before they are put on tankers and sent abroad. As walkers arrive, a flotilla of boats, canoes and kayaks organized by North Shore NOPE will be making noise on the Burrard Inlet.
Saloman was commissioned to create a performative public walk as part of Unit/Pitt Projects’ “Collective Walks/Spaces of Contestation” exhibition, curated by Mariane Bourcheix-Laporte. The Vancouver gallery’s exhibition which runs from March 22 – May 3, with a reception on Friday, April 18, is an access point to 3 other walks co-created by the invited artists and a community groups of their choosing. Collaborations include Lauren Marsden and the Vancouver Public Library; Didier Morelli and the Britannia Outreach Program; and The Unlearning Walking Club which will host walking adventures every Sunday for the duration of the exhibition.
The People’s Procession was imagined by Saloman as a “counter-map” as a response to the maps provided by Kinder-Morgan and the Federal Government. Speaking about the People’s Procession, Saloman has said “I wanted to create a map that showed the real lives that are affected by this project; a map that could be a different kind of educational tool. By making this map with our bodies, moving through space, the participants carry the knowledge with them and the tools to share it with others – they simply have to go for walk.” In addition to the People’s Procession, Saloman is creating a printed map of the Burnaby pipeline network that includes oral histories; recent and archival photos; and the streets, green spaces and waterways affected by the pipeline.
For Saloman, there was no question of whether Art and Activism could mix. “I know that artists have a way of seeing the world, of understanding how moving and affecting images are created, that is both similar and different to how activists see things. I wanted to see if a protest created from the perspective of artists might create something different than what we’re used to seeing, but still be very effective. Luckily BROKE immediately understood that Art could speak to people in unique ways and they’ve been fantastic collaborators.”
The People’s Procession & Rally Against the Pipeline will begin at 10:00 am in Forest Grove Park and culminate in a rally at 1:00pm in Westridge Park. The North Shore Flotilla will be meeting at Whey-a-Chen/Cates Park at 2:00pm and head out at 2:30pm.
For more information, follow these links:
Unit/Pitt Projects: www.unitpitt.ca
The People’s Procession & Rally: http://www.burnabypipelinewatch.ca
The North Shore Flotilla: http://nsnope.org
Spaces of Contestation is supported through the BC Arts Council’s Arts-Based Community Development Program and by the Hamber Foundation. The accompanying speaker series is co-presented by UNIT/PITT, the SFU Vancity Office of Community Engagement and the SFU Institute for the Humanities.
UNIT/PITT Projects | 236 East Pender Street, Vancouver BC Canada V6A 1T7 | +1 604 681 6740 | www.unitpitt.ca
UNIT/PITT is grateful for the assistance of the Canada Council, the British Columbia Arts Council, and the City of Vancouver; we are particularly grateful to individual donors, volunteers, artists, and cultural workers, without whom we would be unable to continue.