Saying it through art

JUDITH RITCHIE
Last updated 14:52 11/06/2014
Verena Maeder
SALLY KIDSON/FAIRFAX NZ
ECOLOGICAL MESSAGE: Verena Maeder, left, with artists Kate Yolland and Kathaleen Bartha who are submitting works for ifOil on Canvas

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Art and activism are coming together in a thought-provoking exhibition in Blenheim, with artists invited to submit works.

Oil on Canvas, is part of a national effort to raise awareness about the problems created by increased fossil fuel extraction in some of our most treasured conservation land.

The community-based project has been initiated by local campaign group Clean Energy Action. Spokesperson Verena Maeder is seeking art works from a cross-section of the community, ranging from work by well established artists to people who may not have shown their work publicly.

Maeder explains that art work does not have to be in oil paint, rather it may be in any medium, providing it fits in with the wider theme of the exhibition.

"Our ultimate goal is to stop deep sea oil exploration and new onshore oil projects on public conservation land," says Maeder. " We want to inspire people to "think beyond oil" and push for home-grown renewable alternatives."

The exhibition is a platform to showcase artist's responses to these issues, using art as a language to engage and inspire people to take positive action and get communities across the top of the south to work together to find sustainable, future-proofed solutions.

Kate Yolland and Kathaleen Bartha are both passionate about preserving and protecting our natural environment for generations to come and hope through their work to stimulate awareness, debate and action.

"My focus at this time is on our coastal waters where some of our most precious places are threatened by deep sea oil exploration," says Yolland.

"Although a movement away from our reliance on fossil fuels presents a challenge, studies show there is potential to generate huge wealth for our economy if we support clean renewable energies."

Bartha is concerned about the risks and consequences related to deep sea oil exploration.

"My motivation is to support and stand by those who take a lead in making positive changes for the future in regards to climate change," says Bartha.

"On a global scale we are only a small nation. However, we are all contributors to global warming and we all need to be part of the solution."

Organisers plan to run the exhibition as a blind auction, while also allowing artists to choose if they would like to sell their artwork or just exhibit.

"If artists want to donate any proceeds from the sale of their work to our ongoing campaigns, Clean Energy Action would be really grateful, but it is not an obligation," says Maeder.

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The exhibition will be held at the Marlborough Art Society's galleries, Yealands Estate Marlborough Gallery on High Street, Blenheim.

The opening will be held on July 25 with speakers and open discussions over a glass of wine and some nibbles.

Oils on Canvas, registration by July 11, final details July 18, for full submission dates and details: www.cleanenergyactionz.org. Call Verena Maeder: 03 5450 240/021 0363 938

- The Nelson Mail

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