One year ago today, I left Canmore for Haida Gwaii and a life-changing artist's residency at Gwaii Haanas National Park. In a month's time, I learned more than I could absorb, met new family and friends, saw, touched, smelled and heard things that were literally Super-Natural and was inspired and welcomed with open arms by the Haida Nation and the islanders.
Canadian War Artist, Allan Harding MacKay destroyed five of his own works, in protest of the Harper-led Canadian government and their erosion of democratic rights. In his "Speak Up, Speak Out" expression, MacKay states, "The value of openness, justice, honesty, fairness and unfettered participation by all MP's is being held hostage by a government that holds the Parliamentary System in deliberate contempt..."
In Canada, we are currently under the thumbs of one of the least "artist-friendly" governments since Confederation. There's a reason for that. Artists are not afraid of speaking out, acting as catalysts for change, observing change in the larger society and finding unique and expressive ways to shine light into dark corners of corrupt governments. That frightens those in power - it always has. They are frightened of what they do not understand.