P.E.I. art exhibition focuses on effects of climate change, erosion

Kirstie McCallum is an Island artist. (Tony Davis/CBC - image credit)
Kirstie McCallum is an Island artist. (Tony Davis/CBC - image credit)

Three P.E.I. artists who are working on art projects using the environment around them came together this weekend to raise awareness about shoreline erosion and climate change.

All projects in the exhibition incorporate living shorelines along Hillsborough River, which use natural buffers between the ocean and Island cliffs.

Kirstie McCallum is working on a project near the shore on Tea Hill.

She has made baskets using found raspberry cane. She plans to plant native wildflowers in the baskets along the shore this spring.

"I think we're in a state of climate emergency now. We're needing to adapt and grapple with the way that our landscapes are changing," she said.

Tony Davis/CBC
Tony Davis/CBC

The hope is that the artwork "will encourage people to see ways, think about ways to maybe harmonize with natural cycles, slow down and consider the ways that we can accept change and work with change instead of resisting and moving against change, which is inevitable," McCallum said.

The project also features a tree that will work as a sundial representing nature's relationship with time. The plan is to have baskets in place with wildflowers in them this spring, she said.

Doug Dumais, another one of the artists, spent five days in an outdoor studio along the river last summer. He snapped pictures of minor changes in the environment and wrote poetry about it.

Art has a role in translating and visualizing some scientific concepts around climate change, Dumais said.

"Scientific data is always based on something almost abstract. It's kind of difficult to wrap your head around something that is all based in numbers and statistics," he said.

Tony Davis/CBC
Tony Davis/CBC

"What I love about art is it can ask these big questions, you know, what does it mean to be a human in a planet that changes over millennia? What does it mean to have to kind of work with and against nature at every step of the human experience?"

The poetry Dumais put together with his photos is pretty much illegible at points, but it's intentional, he said.

"No matter how much we know about nature there is always a part of it that always escapes our grasp, escapes our knowledge," Dumais said.

The art exhibition continues Monday at Beaconsfield Carriage House in Charlottetown.