the Canadian Embassy in Croatia had offered support for Franke’s art show.
“Franke James is tackling a great Canadian taboo with humour and culture – insisting Canadians must act on climate protection despite polluting profits from the tar sands. She should be celebrated and supported as a Canadian treasure – instead our diplomatic circles are told to blacklist her from Canadian international auspices. Artists, environmentalists and anyone who cares about Canada’s reputation in the world should rise up to support Franke’s efforts.” ~ Beatrice Olivastri, CEO, Friends of the Earth Canada
My Reaction to the Blacklisting:
Here are three examples of the government’s interference to date:
- NGO WAS ADVISED TO DROP THE SHOW
This past May, a Canadian Embassy official met with the show’s organizer, Nektarina Non Profit, in Croatia. She advised them to abandon the show because my Dear Prime Minister visual essay — created independently by me for the 2008 Federal Election – offended the Harper Government. It did not support any political party. It only asked that carbon polluters pay. (See my press release from 2008.)
- GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL ADVISED SPONSOR TO CANCEL SUPPORT
On July 11th, the show’s corporate sponsor was called by a Canadian official in Ottawa and advised to withdraw their support, lest they lose millions of dollars in contracts. They cancelled their sponsorship the same day. Nektarina Non Profit is now missing $75,000 it needs to make the show a success.
- NGO BULLIED BY CANADIAN EMBASSY OFFICIAL
On July 13th, a Canadian Embassy official called Sandra Antonovic at Nektarina, and pressured her. The official reminded Sandra that she could apply for more grants in the future — and said that it was the artist (Franke James) they objected to.On July 22nd, Nektarina published an official statement on the bullying by the Harper Government. Here is an excerpt:
“In the past few months we have encountered many difficulties in organizing the exhibitions, usually connected to interventions of the Canadian Government or institutions under Canadian governmental control. We continued to look for ways to collaborate with the homeland of the artist, although at times we felt patronized and even intimidated, as a small NGO trying to reach an understanding with a powerful state. This was most surprising given Canada’s reputation over many decades as a leader in promoting democratic freedoms, the right of free expression and also supporting the international community (through its role as a peacekeeper and in many other ways). It is clear that Canada has a difficult position to resolve in relation to its narrower national interests (in particular the exploitation of natural resources) and its wider responsibility in the international community.” ~ Sandra Antonovic, Nektarina Non Profit
Canadian Embassies can’t even offer me a Handshake
How can you help? Here are 4 ways:
- Leave your comment below about this blacklisting.
- PEN International and PEN Canada work to protect writers and artists right to free speech. Consider a donation.
- Do you know of a potential sponsor for the show? Would you like the show in your region? Please write to me:firstname.lastname@example.org
- Share this blog post on Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.
Support for Franke James
“Franke James is among the tiny handful of really powerful and profound artists who have taken on climate change – the most important topic on the planet, but one so big and all-encompassing that it often defies artistic interpretation. Her work is incredibly important for many of us around the world.” ~ Bill McKibben, Founder 350.org
“Franke James’ work is honest, powerful and funny. She has a rare ability to sweep past the polarization and complexity of critical issues and shine a stark spotlight without over simplifying. Her work is not be missed by anyone interested in climate change or the future of Canada!” ~ Tzeporah Berman, Co-director Climate and Energy Greenpeace International
Tel: 416-256-9166 email@example.com
Tel: 416-484-6489 firstname.lastname@example.org