C Words started today at Arnolfini, Bristol with a wonderful launch day of exhibitions, discussions, introductions and food.
The season began with a fascinating discussion around recuperation. The day has been driven by ideas and conversations. The highlight for me was the extraordinary personal testimony of a Canadian First Nations activist fighting back the invasion of her homelands by corporations intent on exploiting the tar sands to produce oil. Appearing live via Skype to a full Gallery 3, she spoke of how her father taught her to fish and trap, to respect the land, of how the region was so unpolluted you could drink the river water. She spoke of how in 2004 she went back to see her homeland transformed into an “industrial wasteland” because of the tar sand projects. “Since then I have made it my mission to do whatever I can to stop it happening.” She spoke about the escalation of cancer in her community, and she spoke of the corporate denial of responsibility.
As she spoke, as I listened in this cosy art centre, overlooking the waterfront in Bristol, it became possible to travel temporarily, the the edge of the poisoned river, to catch a brief glimpse of the pain, and to stand unified with her, to encourage her and her colleagues in any and all ways, and to take action against such brutal acts of violence.
PLATFORM have been working with activists around the world, with research, action and events. Seehttps://www.carbonweb.org for more information.