Gage Gallery's upcoming show focuses on community visions of sustainability.
HEATWAVES, FLOODS, FIRES, DROUGHT—the warming climate is messing with life as we know it and it is getting harder and harder to not despair. But what can we do? Aiming to find an answer through art, the Gage Gallery has launched a new community project, The Postcard Climate Show.
“We came up with this project because we want to bring hope through art and help release climate-related feelings of angst,” explains Gage artist Ilka Bauer, one of the masterminds behind the project. “Our intention is to bring the community together while encouraging people to talk and think about what can be done.”
One does not have to be an artist to draw, write, stitch, paint or collage to answer the question: what change would you like to see in society for a climate-friendly future? Or what steps would you be personally willing to take?
Wolfie, at three-and-a-half years the youngest participant, sent in his drawing with the priority: “Leaves are important—we need to be respectful to not rip them.”
Four weeks before the exhibition opens, there are 350 submissions so far. Artists, families, seniors, University students and professors, environmentalists, and adults with disabilities through the Garth Homer Society have enthusiastically answered the call.
Postcard submission for The Postcard Climate Show
Postmarks are arriving from as far away as Nova Scotia, Virginia and Germany. Locally, the activity has also been a hit with students in elementary and middle schools, where teachers incorporate it into science or art lessons.
“I love that the project focuses on hope rather than doom and gloom,” says Kathryn Cook, a Victoria elementary teacher. “It is a perfect two-hour unit. The students really enjoy the lesson.”
Participants are encouraged to explain their idea on the back of their artwork, note their first name, and if they want, their age. Postcards range from heartwarming to profound and chilling, sad, and sometimes hilarious. “Don’t waste, finish your dad’s leftovers. Be amazing for human kind, so do not waste anything!,” is the advice received from a grade three student in Victoria.
A sampling of some postcards received so far
“Collecting the art in our drop-off boxes around town is like finding a treasure, every time,” shares Gabriela Hirt, local artist and co-organizer. “Each postcard is unique, the scope of originality is just breathtaking.”
Because both sides of the artwork are important to be seen, the postcards will be displayed hanging in clusters from a handmade net structure. Strings of cards will float at eye level, some quite low, so children can see them.
Mikaela, Grade 4, Victoria, “Fix the World We Broke”
“We imagine the installation to resemble a web symbolizing our dependence on the natural world and our connectedness with each other,” says Hirt.
All submissions will be exhibited, and a small selection printed as art cards for sale during the show to raise funds for Sierra Club BC.
There is still time to send in a postcard, the deadline has been extended to January 28th. For details go to gagegallery.ca/community-engagement
For readers wanting to create with others while chatting about art, climate and all things life, consider joining one of the free one-hour virtual makers events. Follow @gage_gallery_arts on Instagram or Facebook for dates and information.
The Postcard Climate Show will run from February 22 to March 6, 2022 at Gage Gallery, 19 Bastion Square, Victoria. Admission is free!
Submitted by Gage Gallery volunteers. “Make Do” shown above by Helen from Nanaimo.