“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’
then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”
~ Vincent Van Gogh
Several weeks ago, I wrote about the Harper government’s interference in the European tour of Canadian environmental artist, writer, and educator Franke James. This interference lead to the withdrawal of private funding for the tour, and ultimately its cancellation by the sponsoring NGO. Franke’s response to this – after the initial disbelief and bewilderment – has been to come out fighting the heavy-handed and anti-democratic actions of the Canadian federal government. A petition has been started on CARE2 by writer Cathryn Wellner. It reads:
You just can’t keep a good woman down, at least not permanently. Canadian artist Franke James was invited to tour Europe to inspire youth with her approach to climate change art. (See Harper Government Trying to Silence Canadian Artist.) In a move reminiscent of the quote often attributed (probably incorrectly) to Queen Victoria, the Canadian government was not amused.
With pressure heavy on her Croatian sponsor and embassies backing away as if she were contagious, Franke ended up canceling the tour. Anyone with less backbone might have quietly tucked her tail between her legs and slunk back to the studio.
Franke is made of sterner stuff. She has the kind of integrity and grit that are needed to fend off threats to democracy. So she has teamed up with LoudSauce to take her environmental message to Ottawa. Her canvas will be billboards and bus shelters in the nation’s capital.
As a new member of “The Harper Blacklisted Club,” she joins other artists and scientists [see Harper’s Humiliating Muzzle on Scientists] whose work has incurred the Conservative government’s displeasure. Fortunately, now there is another way to let the government know they are not the only ones displeased. We can sign the petition below and donate whatever we can to fund the billboard and bus-shelter messages.
Let’s help Franke James be the mosquito buzzing in the government’s ears.
Now any good Canadian will understand the metaphor of a mosquito’s ability to bring low the mightiest among us with sheer annoying persistence (there’s a t-shirt out there that reads: “If you think you’re too small to make a difference you’ve never been in bed with a mosquito” – not that the words bed and PM Harper should ever be in the same sentence!). So, to help Franke – and annoy the heck out of Harper and his cronies – here’s a few things you can do: