Sunday, March 23, 2008

Protest Loses Punch

Recently, a YouTube video was posted of BC's world-renowned wildlife artist, Robert Bateman, making a political protest against potential oil tanker traffic from Prince Rupert with construction of a proposed pipeline from Alberta. The northern waters off British Columbia contain many ecologically sensitive areas, not to mention some extremely treacherous areas of navigation through narrow and swift-current channels, with dangerous weather conditions often prevailing as the norm rather than the exception.

While I certainly don't disagree with his protest, and absolutely salute his support of this ecologically and economically sensitive and important issue, I find that the protest is somewhat deceptive. Watch the video:

Looking at the video, doesn't that look like an original painting? It's not - and at least the Toronto Star's article and the Times Colonist article both of Friday, March 21, 2008, admit that it's a reproduction (although erroneously labeling it a print). Both articles indicate that this reproduction is probably worth a couple of thousand dollars - for a reproduction that was never created by Bateman's own hand, just a glorified photocopy of it. Oh, but I suppose I digress. That's not really what this rant is about.

So if he's really honest about his protest, that we should "do anything it takes" to prevent this (tanker traffic through these ecologically sensitive areas), then maybe destroying something of actual value to him, as much value as he implies that the delicate and diverse ecology of our Pacific coast has for him, would have more impact. I honestly don't think that slapping some black paint onto a "canvas" with a reproduced image (which, frankly, didn't take any real effort on Bateman's part to create in the first place, whereas on his original paintings he spends hours, days, and weeks creating and developing the images).

And thanks to our own Alison McKenzie of the Printmakers Only Group, made a similar comment in the letters to the editor of the Times Colonist on Saturday, March 22. Kudos, Alison!

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