Bangladesh 27.07 The Guardian by Claire Cansick

Bangladesh 27.07 The Guardian


I saw a question posed about whether art can change people’s minds about climate change. I’ve been thinking about this since in relation to the project I set myself in 2022.

It seems to me that art operates on a different level in our psyche. It taps into deep feeling, that is where it comes from after all. Art isn’t made to adorn your living room or match your curtains- well some is but that’s not art. It is made from the instinctive place in an artist’s mind, an inexplicable reaction or expression is revealed, whether the artist is completely aware of it or not. It can’t be hidden.

The idea for my project of 2022 came from a place of frustration, anger and desperation inspired by the birth of my granddaughter which catapulted my mind way further into the future than ever before.

After reading the aforementioned question, I began to think about how painting these image differs from the photos or videos they were inspired by. Professional photos are of course crafted and take immense talent and skill which capture incredible images of an entire story in one shot. But I was drawn to think about the time taken to craft and create the paintings, the time spent with the image, the story, the impact of the event and comparing that to the time taken when we observe the news.

Each painting took 2-3 weeks to make and the facts and faces of the related stories are embedded in my memory. I realise this will not translate in the same way to a viewer, but does the time I took to make demand a more considered and slower observation of the image? When I am looking at a painting there’s first an impact of the image as a whole, its subject, narrative and the emotion. Followed by an appreciation of the medium, the way it is painted, the colours, skill and materials. Does this give the subject more weight? Does it make you look harder, for longer and then stay with you for longer? I hope so. I don’t have the answers but I know it is the emotion which embeds art in my heart, whether it is love, awe, horror, humour, anger or sadness.

The reason I painted from the news was to slow the influx of information down, so we could give it the time and consideration it deserves and not swipe past it, turn the tv off, consign to yesterday’s news wrapping it around our chips.

I hope the facts, stories and human suffering of climate change in my work is given the consideration and respect it deserves.