Local opposition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion is taking on an artistic twist, with a collaborative "people's procession" along the pipeline route.
Vancouver artist Gabriel Mindel-Saloman has teamed up with Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion for a walk along the pipeline's existing route and the proposed expansion routes.
"The idea behind the Burnaby walk was to try and map the pipeline route but to try and do it using something different than the maps Kinder Morgan and the government provide, and to use our bodies," Mindel-Saloman said.
The people's procession is set for Saturday, April 12 and is part of a bigger local rally and flotilla on the Burrard Inlet, opposing the pipeline. The walk starts at 10 a.m. at Forest Grove Park, on the south side of Burnaby Mountain. The procession goes past the Kinder Morgan tank farm to Squint Lake Park, then down to the Westridge area for the rally and towards the water for a flotilla with residents from the North Shore.
The procession will include artistic elements, such as music and performance, and Mindel-Saloman is hoping participants will bring their own creativity to the event. He's already held a workshop at the Burnaby Art Gallery, inviting BROKE members and local residents to create screen prints related to the procession.
The Burnaby piece is part of Spaces of Contestation, a larger show featuring four artist-led walks that examines collective walks and protests as performance. For instance, one artist is designing a walk with at-risk First Nations youth, and another is working with dancers and decommissioned library books. The four walks will be featured in an exhibition at UNIT/PITT Projects, an east Vancouver gallery.
Burnaby residents can expect to see some of the elements from the local walk at the gallery, including a pipeline map Mindel-Saloman is creating as part of the project. The map will incorporate elements from stories about people's relationships to the pipeline. (For example, Mindel-Saloman has talked to a woman whose family owned a farm in the Westridge neighbourhood. The property was expropriated when the line was first built in the 1950s. He's also including the 2007 pipeline rupture, when homes in the Westridge neighbourhood were sprayed with crude.) Copies of the map will be available through BROKE and the UNIT/PITT Projects gallery during the exhibition.
Mariane Bourcheix-Laporte is curating the show for UNIT/PITT Projects. The NOW asked her what made the Burnaby walk art and not simply another protest.
"In the larger scope, it fits within what we call a social practice, which is a type of artwork that developed in the 1990s, where the process is more the artwork than the end results. I think all of the collaboration we've had with BROKE would fit within that, ... The artwork becomes more (about) conversations that happen," Bourcheix-Laporte said. "The line becomes quite fine in this area," she added.
Local resident Ruth Walmsley, an active member of BROKE, said the event is not just a protest.
"We are hoping people will bring their creativity and their love for this place where we live and our desire to preserve the beauty of this place," she said. "We are optimistically hoping we will get hundreds if not thousands of people to come out and walk the route of the existing and proposed routes of the Kinder Morgan pipeline and raise awareness of the risks it poses to us in our community."
Walmsley is also hoping to have a wide range of groups attend, including environmental organizations, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation's Sacred Trust Initiative (the nation's anti-Kinder Morgan campaign), SFU student groups and other residents' organizations.
"Our biggest hope in fighting this whole pipeline issue is building a mass movement of people, who are aware of it and who are working together to deal with it," Walmsley said.
For more information on the people's procession, rally and flotilla, go to www.burnabypipelinewatch.ca.
The UNIT/PITT Projects gallery is at 236 East Pender St., Vancouver. The exhibition starts March 22, but the opening is on April 18.
For more information on Spaces of Contestation, go to www.helenpittgallery.org.