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Artist delivers apology to the earth
It never hurts to say sorry, as we Canadians know.
However, the current Fresh AiR artist-in-residence at the Caetani Cultural Centre/Allan Brooks Nature Centre is delivering an apology to those who cannot answer back.
South African artist Paul Roux, who is in the Okanagan via Boston and California, is approaching his subject, called Project Apology, with what he deems as humour and sensitivity.
The ongoing video documentation shows Roux apologizing, in person and as a self-appointed member of humanity, to non-human species on the planet that are being adversely affected by human activity.
The project’s intent is to use satire as a means to deliver a serious message in an unconventionally and amusingly palatable, yet provocative manner, said Roux.
“In a world that perhaps sometimes leaves some room for improvement in terms of how we treat each other, and the planet that sustains us, much of my work (whether painting, performance/public intervention or writing) is concerned with processing stuff that I see in the world that I live in; with attempting to come to terms with some experience, way of seeing or scientific reality,” he said in his artist’s statement. “Some examples of such stuff might be imbalances in resources, social censure, consumer consciousness, beauty, species extinction, perversely utilitarian power-tripping at the expense of the planet and the common man, and so on.”
A graduate of the Michaelis School of Fine Art (University of Cape Town, South Africa), Roux has worked in advertising and marketing, and has made a recommitment to the fine arts over the last several years.
He has a number of awards and has shown in solo exhibitions, and recently received a scholarship for further study at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
His work is represented in collections in Europe, South Africa and the U.S.
Most of Roux’s performance work is concerned with engaging viewers around the separation between humanity and the planet; and between the socialized self and what he calls the real self.
Aside from compiling previously completed apologies as time allows, Roux is also working on the idea of making future apologies more targeted as he comes to terms with the theory of endangered species lists, criteria and sub-classification to create some sort of regional priority list.
While in Vernon, Roux will be making a number of targeted and sensitive apology outings, facilitated by local knowledge so as not to disturb habitat or inhabitants.
“The Okanagan is considered as one of the three most endangered ecological regions in Canada, providing critical habitat for many severely endangered species, such as the white-headed woodpecker, Lewis’ woodpecker, the Great Basin spadefoot toad and the yellow-breasted chat, among many others,” he said.
Roux will be making two public appearances to talk about his project in the weeks ahead.
The first is the Project Apology workshop at the Allan Brooks Nature Centre, Saturday, Sept. 21, from 1 to 4 p.m.
The second is a presentation by Roux at the Vernon library meeting room Wednesday, Sept. 25, from 7 to 9 p.m.
There is no cost for either event and everyone is welcome.
More information is available at www.caetaniculturalcentre.org.