Gabriela Hirt described receiving hundreds of postcards from across the province as something like Christmas, every time she received a new box.
The cards weren’t personally addressed to the local artist – instead, the 330 postcards were sent to the gallery from across the province over the last two months as part of a collaborative art project voicing potential climate crisis solutions, set to be featured in a Gage Gallery exhibit from Feb. 22 to March 6.
The postcards will be strung from the ceiling of the gallery in Bastion Square, allowing visitors to wander between the expressive visuals and the explanation of the idea on each side, Hirt said. Suggestions from “plant more trees,” to “hop on your penny (bike) and get a pint at the penny,” and even placing a new monetary value on the future, were submitted from across B.C. Participants have included elementary school students, other artists and advocacy groups including the Sierra Club.
Several feature simple crayon and coloured pencil work, but others incorporate oil painting, textured collages and professional photography.
The installation will be “almost like a web,” Hirt said. “It symbolizes how we’re all connected, to the natural world and each other. To actually make a change, we have to work (our ideas) together and come up with solutions.”
Her favourite submission is a card that includes several smaller, pasted-on postcards depicting letters to world leaders that its creator intends to write and send.
A human figure at the centre of the installation “anchors it all down, and brings it back to us (humanity),” she said.
The installation has also proved a great tool for pulling together what could be considered an over 300-piece conversation, as in-person meetings have been limited, Hirt said. The gallery had planned to host workshops throughout last year – in light of that, “this works so well because families can sit, make art together and talk about (the subject matter),” she said; discussing the reportedly immense social and economic shifts required to avert a climate crisis.
“I feel like there’s a lot of hopelessness and angst around what we’re facing, especially for young people,” she said. “A project like this gives you hope that there are actual solutions and that there’s something that can be done.”
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