The submitted piece ‘Growth’ is part of a greater collection my work under the theme of Nature Deficit Disorder and is a reflection of my use of art to process my emotions. It is also an expression of my inspiration from the environment as well as my means of socio-environmental activism.

‘Growth’ is juxtaposition of Nature and the view of Canada’s take on it. The piece is a tree somewhat symbolic of a gushing geyzer of oil. The quadtych is intentional and a mimic of the Canadian Flag. What are Canadians take of our environmental intelligence and conscience? How does that compare how the rest of the world sees us? Third World Nations see Canada as a wasteful country that is blessed with abundance of Natural Resources.

The Term ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ was coined by Richard Louv in his book Last Child in the Woods. His premise is that children need more access to nature for a number of psycho social reasons. Today’s Mass Media has demonized going outdoors, and thus children don’t have a relationship with the environment and they don’t know where their food comes from. For example, children who are exposed to nature more frequently in a free play environment are less subject to health issues including diabetes, are more socialized and generally earn more money as an adult.

As part of the installation I have included some children’s toys, which are industrial in nature.  At a young age children are exposed to dump trucks, backhoes and construction equipment as elements of their free play. From an environmentalist perspective, they appear destructive in nature.  In contrast are there toys or free-play that reflect responsible development or sustainability? Or are young children being ingrained with only one side of the story, in that the environment is a means for extraction and that their is no value in its preservation.  Seemingly, this mindset only serves to perpetuate the conditions for Nature Deficit Disorder.

With the recent events in Toronto this weekend, which clearly document the erosion of our democratic rights in this country, I am requesting that my piece be installed right side down. Given that my piece is a mimic of the Canadian Flag, and that Canada Day is this week, I thought it would be appropriate that it be installed that way. When a national flag is hung upside down it is a message of distress in Marine Terms.

I am compelled to react this way, given the current circumstances and in particular how climate change was avoided as an issue altogether during the G20 meetings.

GROWTH will be exhibited at Gallery Gachet for the MAD Pride Biennale, from July 2 to July 31.

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