For the past few years Nanaimo artist Dyane Brown has been travelling to Burnaby to protest the construction of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline.
It’s a cause that’s important to Brown because she is concerned for the ecological wellness of the Pacific coast and that there has been inadequate consultation with First Nations.
“If they increase the tankers by the percentage that they want to there is a very definite likelihood of an accident and it’s going to destroy the coast,” Brown said.
“It’s also a question of Indigenous rights. The approval of the pipeline just absolutely ignores the fact that the Indigenous people have the title and rights here and that is the core principle of reconciliation.”
In 2014 Brown was arrested at a rally alongside Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs. She said the experience left an impression.
“It was a surprise but it was a very moving experience for me because of him and his dignity, his presence and his absolute commitment to making sure that this pipeline didn’t happen,” she said of Phillip.
Brown said for health reasons she won’t be putting herself in the position to be arrested again, but she is continuing her activism in her studio, armed with a paintbrush instead of a picket sign.
From Oct. 2 to Nov. 2 at the Nanaimo Arts Council, Brown is presenting Protect the Coast, a series of around 20 large and small paintings depicting coastal life and landscapes. An opening reception is taking place on Oct. 4.
“I don’t think that we can be satisfied that the issue’s been resolved,” Brown said of the Federal Court of Appeal’s decision to halt the pipeline project.
“The courts have ruled in support of the Indigenous claim, but I expect that the government will appeal it and so I don’t think it’s over and whatever we can do I think we need to do and I’m an artist so [painting] is something that I thought I could do.”
Brown is donating 60 per cent of proceeds from sales to the Coast Protectors, a project of the UBCIC, to assist the group in its efforts to oppose the pipeline. She said her goal is for the exhibition to move people to contribute to the coastal cause in their own way.
“I’m hoping that it raises awareness about the issues and that people will continue to act to protect our waters, our coasts, and that maybe they’ll find something that they can do, too,” Brown said.
WHAT’S ON … Protect the Coast by Dyane Brown opening reception at the Nanaimo Arts Council on Thursday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. Show runs until Nov. 2.