Sunday, December 3, 2017

Fire and Rain and My Canadian Right To Express it...

The man hid his face behind 'Fort McMurray - The Beast' with a lit cigarette in his hand.

Humans are the leading cause of wildfires in Canada, says a forest fire researcher who believes the latest blaze that has ripped through parts of Fort McMurray, Alta., is no exception. Mike Flannigan, a professor of wildland fires at the University of Alberta, says the fire's proximity to the city, as well as data that shows there were no lightning strikes in the area, lead him to believe the cause of the fire was likely human. CTV News May 5, 2016

December 11, 2016 #AbLeg Art Show: The man did not want his picture taken so he covered his face with my painting 'Fort McMurray The Beast.' while holding a lit cigarette in his hand. How fitting I thought to myself as I pointed my lens. The man then offered to buy my painting for $10 and I laughed and said "I don't sell my paintings, especially here on the Alberta Legislature grounds." The 'Beast' was painted late afternoon on the day when wildfires surrounded Fort McMurray and evacuations commenced May 3, 2016. 'Fort McMurray-The Beast' 

Two Crows Fire and Rain was completed April, 2016 but was later destroyed by a fit of my own rage on the evening of July 22, 2016 after I was verbally banned by the Alberta Legislature's Visitors Service Official earlier in the day from handing out leaflets to guests during my show. He said I could no longer hand out leaflets because he was concerned about people tossing them away and littering the grounds. Al Chapman who answers to the Sergeant-of-Arms Brian Hodgson. Brian also verbally banned me from showing art on the grounds June, 2016 claiming it was inappropriate to show art on the Alberta Legislature grounds and that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms did not apply on the Alberta Legislature grounds, but only he does. Art banned #AbLeg YouTube. My first verbal ban from painting and showing my art on the grounds came at the beginning of 2016, February by Loretta Bieneck the facilities manager of the Ministry of Infrastructure, the same month a reporter for The Rebel Media was banned by an Alberta Sheriff from entering the Alberta Legislature building and doing her job as a reporter. I responded to all 3 verbal bans with civil protests and information pickets.  

The destroyed "Two Crows Fire and Rain" 
Removed from the Fire and Rain art project July 2016.

October 18, 2017 (To) Mr. Brinkman: I’m following up on your email to the Speaker’s constituency office as well as our conversation the other day. I don’t expect you will be having any further issues with the Sgt.-at-Arms as it may pertain to the display of your artwork on the Legislature Grounds. However, the Speaker will not be relieving Brian Hodgson of his duties. (As I requested) From Alex McCuaig Chief of Staff to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.

On New Year's eve 2016 during my 160th art show and final showing of the 2016 Fire and Rain art project a single painting 'Escape from Fort McMurray' I was approached by a City of Edmonton manager next to the same ice rink by City Hall where I had first began my art project. She said "We know who you are, you were not invited, you'll have to leave." When I refused she threatened me with police action. In response I started picketing the City of Edmonton January 3, 2017 for 36 days demanding the City of Edmonton put it writing the reasons why I could not freely express myself with art on City public property when it's guaranteed in our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. On March 10, 2017, I met with City officials and they apologized, allowing me to once again paint and show my art by City Hall. 

Continued 2017 Not a Bystander art project focuses camera and canvases on Anger, Violence and Bullying

Friday, December 1, 2017

Much Appreciated Help Defending Freedom of Expression

"It is the job of the artist to make themselves free"- Doug Brinkman

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms encouraged me to continue exercising my freedom of expression, be it displaying art, handing out leaflets, or peaceful protest/picketing. Regarding the locations where freedom of expression is protected they said legislature grounds are actually one of the most closely guarded by the Supreme Court. Political expression at or near inherently political public spaces is at the "core" of what is protected by freedom of expression. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

It was two years today...

It was two years today that I dreamed of creating an art project on the wildfires burning in western Canada. With 24 paintings completed, 80 Youtubes published, 160 outdoor art shows completed with 3 bans and one threat of police action I saw my dream come true...

August 13, 2015: Tom Thomson 1912 Smoke Lake - This could have been anywhere in Western Canada June 2015 - I'm hoping to make a days trip with some paint to put something onto canvas from what's left of the forest after a fire by the road that leads to Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park.

Monday, January 2, 2017

The 2016 Fire and Rain art project by Doug Brinkman

Alberta Air Quality 
Worse than Beijing and New Delhi 
August 26, 2015: Alberta Health Services has issued air quality advisories for areas from the U.S. border north to the Edmonton region because of smoke from wildfires in Washington state. The agency warns even healthy people may experience irritated eyes and throat and possibly shortness of breath. AHS says people with respiratory conditions may notice a worsening of symptoms and that children and the elderly are at higher risk of smoke-related illness. An air quality official says the smoke in the Calgary area is worse than cities with serious pollution problems such as Beijing and New Delhi. 
Globe and Mail

The Fire and Rain art project by Doug Brinkman

Blog Note: Posts on this blog has been set up chronologically with the final March 2017 post first and the first January 2016 post at the end of this blog. The artist's bio and special thanks are also located at the end of this blog... Enjoy!

Mother Earth is ready to cleanse. The natural shape is a circle, our cells are a circle, stars are a circle, the sun, the moon, the earth. The mothers womb is a circle... I don't believe we should be living in these squares." - Chief No Tribe, September 13, 2016. 

 The 2016 Fire and Rain art project was planned in 2015 following the news stories about wildfires that burned throughout Western Canada. The first painting was completed January 25th, 2016 and 23 more paintings followed throughout the year. Paintings were displayed in public and their stories told during 160 outdoor art shows. There was an opportunity to set things right between me and officials with the Alberta Government and City of Edmonton about Freedom of Expression and what it stands for.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

December Outdoor Art Shows -Art Threatened With Police Action!

 December 8, 2016 Outdoor Art Show - 102nd. Street and Jasper Avenue

December 3, 2016 Today's 150th art show: on the Alberta Legislature grounds. With frigid cold temperatures forecast for the coming week this might be my last outdoor art show this year. Today's guests included from Toronto Ezra Levant of TheRebel media who also gave me an interview about his protest rally he planned for later today. Conservative leadership hopeful Chris Alexander who I found to be a good listener.

December 8, 2016 Wind chill minus -36 C Wind Chill: Good Day for an outdoor art show and Civil Information Actions promoting The 2016 Fire and Rain art project during its last 14 days in 2016. Photo : This brave gal who had no hat was giving out chocolates for a Make A Wish Christmas campaign on Jasper Avenue and 102nd street.

December 13, 2016 The 911 call: Minus -19C wind chill allowed me to continue my outdoor leafleting and promoting the 2016 Fire and Rain art project in front of the Alberta Legislature. During the start of my show a man came up to me and asked where he could find the river. I pointed in the direction and asked why the river? He replied "to jump into it." Right then a strong gust of wind toppled over my easel. I quickly gathered my easel, painting and backpack off the ground and made chase after the guy while dialing 911. He got away from me under the High Level bridge. The EPS later called back to say they found the man and got him to a place for help - Edmonton cops are the best!

December 20, 2016: Today is the last day of The 2016 Fire and Rain art project. It ended today as the 153rd outdoor art show on the grounds of the Alberta Legislature grounds. It was a good day, meeting so many who stopped to look at my paintings and hear some of the stories behind the paintings. This young Venezuelan woman who took interest in my show had this to say.

Art is made for people to react. Having a position means what you are doing is needed and it is creating change... In the long term a lot of people are going to appreciate it." - Unnamed Venezuelan woman

Fort McMurray wildfire named Canadian Press news story of 2016 
'Not even a Hollywood script could match the terror, uncertainty, and heroism' 

 December 20, 2016: The ferocious wildfire that forced nearly 90,000 to flee Canada's oilsands region and reduced thousands of homes to rubble has been picked as the top news story of 2016 in an annual survey of newsrooms across Canada by The Canadian Press. Dubbed "the beast" for its merciless unpredictability, the Fort McMurray wildfire garnered 39 of the 67 votes cast by senior editors. It was followed by Canada's ongoing resettlement of Syrian refugees with 11 votes, the fentanyl crisis with six and the Tragically Hip's farewell tour with five. Fort McMurray wildfire remains out of control after city evacuated "Not even a Hollywood script could match the terror, uncertainty, and heroism to come out of what seemed to be a surreal event," wrote Dave Barry, news director of CKPG TV in Prince George, B.C. The fire began in a remote forested area southwest of the city on May 1 during a spell of unusually hot and dry spring weather. By suppertime on May 3 the flames were inside the city and all of Fort McMurray was under a mandatory evacuation order."

City of Edmonton Employee Spoils Final 
160th Art Show with Threat of Police Action
December 31, 2016, 160th free outdoor art show featuring Escape from Fort McMurray

Freely expressing art by Edmonton City Hall New Years Eve 2016, during my 160th outdoor art show in Edmonton. Featuring the 2016 Fire and Rain art project collection that focused my canvases and camera on the wildfires and the rains that followed in Alberta last year. Photo : Two stilt walkers stand next to and pose with my painting titled Escape From Fort McMurray

December 31, 2016 New Years Eve Celebrations: A City of Edmonton employee approached me during New Years Eve celebrations next to the City Hall's ice rink where I had set up my painting Escape from Fort McMurray, part of the 2016 Fire and Rain art project that focused my canvases and camera on the wildfires and rains of Alberta. She said "you were not invited" and demanded I leave. I refused and said "I'm staying for another 30 minutes before I pack up and leave" She said "we know who you are and I'm going to inform security and police (EPS) that we expect you to leave soon." I continued displaying my art and distributing information leaflets for another hour and nothing happened. Later I informed two Edmonton Police officers how the City official had threatened me with police action if I didn’t leave from the City Hall grounds. They said I needed to send a complaint to the City of Edmonton. I responded with a picket protest called Art is Freedom - Picket against the City of Edmonton.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

November News Stories - Is the Beast still burning?

November 1, 2016: Is the Beast still burning? Fort McMurray wildfire may smoulder through winter 'Once that snow starts to melt ... everything has an opportunity to heat up' The fire which devastated much of Fort McMurray in May may still be smouldering, deep underground. At its peak, the fire was moving 30 to 40 metres per minute, creating its own weather pattern of wind and lighting. It crowned high in the trees, raining down ash and cinders as it raced north, jumping the Athabasca River, and wrapping itself around the northern Alberta city like a noose. Even then, smouldering ash underground grew into powerful infernos, making the fire an unpredictable foe for firefighters. In the end the Beast covered 589,552 hectares and devoured 2,400 structures. Extinguished on the surface, the fire may continue burning undetected throughout the winter, feeding on peat and dead vegetation.

November 15, 2016: $5.3B to be spent rebuilding Fort McMurray, boosting GDP, Conference Board says: The Fort McMurray wildfire will shave about 0.1 per cent from Alberta's real GDP in 2016, but reconstruction efforts will reverse that trend over the next few years, according to a Conference Board of Canada report released Tuesday. The costliest natural disaster in Canadian history will result in $5.3-billion being injected into the province, with the bulk of those funds — approximately $3.6-billion — coming from insurance payouts. But the report warns that "the funds put toward replacing lost capital will leave the provincial and federal governments with more debt, and the insurance industry with the challenge of absorbing what has become the costliest natural disaster in Canadian history."

Sunday, October 2, 2016

October Outdoor Art Shows - Reptiles Rescued

October 2, 2016 YouTube: Fort McMurray Reptiles Rescued
During yesterday's 119th outdoor art show on the Alberta Legislature grounds I shot some video footage adding it later to bits and pieces of interviews I collected since May relating to reptiles being rescued from the Fort McMurray wildfires. Heart warming stories shared by Albertans about these beautiful creatures.

130th outdoor art show next to the Alberta Legislature

Meeting Oiler fans along 104th Street during my 134th outdoor art showing
of the Fire and Rain art project a block away from Rogers Place