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Artist to black out painting

Victoria artist Anne Hansen plans to destroy one of her own painted landscapes Wednesday in a symbolic protest against the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline. “I’m a bit sad about my painting because I really like it,” Hansen said Monday.
Victoria artist Anne Hansen plans to destroy one of her own painted landscapes Wednesday in a symbolic protest against the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.

“I’m a bit sad about my painting because I really like it,” Hansen said Monday. “But it’s pretty inconsequential compared with the real ruin that results from our continued path to further destroy our natural resources.”

The wildlife artist plans to cover the coastal scene in black paint Wednesday at 1 p.m. on the waterfront promenade in front of the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort, which is hosting the hearings.

Hansen painted Red Sky in Morning, Sailors Take Warning several weeks ago. The four-by-five-foot painting shows diverse coastal life under a red sky, including sea lions, mergansers, sea stars, oystercatchers and B.C.’s provincial bird, the Steller’s jay.

She planned to present it as part of the public hearings, conducted by a federal joint review panel.

But when she read the fine print discouraging visual aids, she opted to “black out” the painting in a more public setting.

“I can always make another painting,” she said. “But we can’t create a new coast or a new bird habitat or a new fishing village or a new city, once they’ve been destroyed by an oil spill or inundated by rising sea levels — which are a consequence of our unwillingness to get off fossil fuels as our main source of energy.”

Art plays an important role in public discourse, Hansen said.

“Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words,” she said, “and I think all media [are] valid. Some people are better at public speaking, others are better at singing political songs and I think [visual] art is just as powerful.”

Hansen is best known for her series of paintings featuring oystercatchers, which cover 350 canvases.

She is scheduled to give an oral presentation as part of the hearings Wednesday evening and will share the story of her painting.

She said she would like to see Canada follow models of energy production similar to those in Germany and Denmark, which have large wind-power programs.

While the hearings are being held at the Delta Ocean Pointe, the public is barred from attending for fear of demonstrations. Instead, people interested in watching the proceedings must do so via live video feed, three kilometres away at the Ramada Hotel on Gorge Road.

asmart@timescolonist.com