Artists and citizen scientists have come together to create a unique show opening this week at ARTSPLACE in Annapolis Royal, N.S.
The show is called For the Love of Lichens and Old Forests and was put together to raise awareness around the destruction of old forests in Annapolis County. It features paintings, sculptures, lichen-encrusted rocks and photographic portraits of at-risk lichens.
Nina Newington, part of the Citizen Scientists of Southwest Nova Biosphere and one of the show's organizers, said the idea came about because art is an effective way to communicate environmental concerns.
"We were thinking about how much fun people have in the forest looking for lichens and taking photographs of them … and also how people love to make art and come view art," she said.
There is a tremendous art community engaged in environmental protection in the Annapolis Royal area, she said.
"I think artists, like citizen scientists, look closely at things and feel a connection to the natural world," she said.
When curator Susan Tooke put it out to artists, she got so many responses that a second month had to be booked.
Tooke said in a Monday press release that she's seen a shift in the climate "and an imbalance in our relationship with nature" over the course of her lifetime.
"We have become separated, but, of course, that is impossible," she said.
Newington said that Nova Scotia is in a biodiversity crisis with only a few old forests left.
"When you look at these paintings, you have that feeling of connection of seeing deeply and with that comes caring," she said.
Some proceeds from sales will go to the Save Our Old Forests campaign, which was recently launched in Annapolis County by the Arlington Forest Protection Society and Citizen Scientists of Southwest Nova Biosphere.
The campaign is asking the province to put a pause on logging in old forests on Crown land until 20 per cent of the province is protected.
Newington said the campaign is trying to find ways to work that are fun and engaging while creating community and sending a clear message.
"I really see that people want to help and they don't know what to do," Newington said.
"The campaign is really about finding a way for people to help by doing stuff they already love to do, so making art and looking at art."
The show runs May 2-26 and the second show featuring all new work runs June 1-24.
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