Art/Act: The Canary Project

Art/Act: The Canary Project

The David Brower Center is pleased to present its eighth annual Art/Act Award & Exhibition honoring the prolific arts initiative The Canary Project. The exhibition presents an overview of The Canary Project’s work and a more in depth look at a current project regarding water issues in California called Water Gold Soil: American River. The exhibit as a whole will present a strong statement of the many possibilities for art, design and education to contribute vitally to environmental movements.

The Canary Project was created in 2006 by artist duo Sayler and Morris, whose research-intensive projects are framed to broaden public awareness and inspire action surrounding environmental issues; their projects communicate the immediacy, the presence, and the reality of our current ecological climate. The initiative also brings together hundreds of artists, designers, scientists, writers and volunteers to engage and inspire public sentiment, which in turn can precipitate political change.

Art/Act: The Canary Project provides a multimedia overview that shows the kaleidoscopic nature of its work over time. Supporting didactics, archived images and graphics trace how the work connects to the environmental movement and is informed by a theory of change. The exhibition includes selected works from the past ten years, including A History of the Future—a series of landscape photographs taken in places around the world affected by climate change; Eclipse—a video piece about the extinction of the passenger pigeon made in conversation with New Yorker writer, Elizabeth Kolbert; and Green Patriot Posters—a design campaign centered on posters that encourage all U.S. citizens to build a sustainable economy. Also included are photographs and video from Water Gold Soil: American River, a project that examines the water issues of California through the lens of a single flow of water, and also raises deeper political and philosophical questions underlying California’s present ecological crisis.  

Every fall, the David Brower Center presents the Art/Act Award & Exhibition, created to honor established artists who have dedicated a significant part of their careers to making art that inspires environmental advocacy and engagement. Past honorees include Maya Lin, Richard Misrach, and Edward Burtynsky. For this year’s program, the Center is proud to acknowledge The Canary Project for their innovative and boundless contributions in broadening public awareness and inspiring action surrounding environmental issues.

Of The Canary Project, Laurie Rich, Executive Director of the David Brower Center says the initiative embodies one of the Brower Center’s core values – collaboration. By cultivating diverse projects that involve artists, designers, educators, writers and scientists they are able to communicate knowledge of environmental issues in ways that are both informative and inspiring. Their work continues on in David Brower’s tradition of “art of advocacy” – art that connects its audience to the beauties of nature and also the threats to it; deepens awareness of the need to protect ecological integrity; and motivates people to be involved in environmental activism.”

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