The Eden Grove Artist in Residence program began in March 2021, and is based in Eden Grove, a small area of ancient forest on unceded Pacheedaht Territory near Port Renfrew BC. Since August 2020, non-violent blockades have prevented the destruction of ancient forests throughout Tree Farm License 46, which includes Eden Grove, Fairy Creek and other threatened areas. This program offers artists an immersive experience in ancient temperate rainforest ecosystems, the opportunity to witness the frontlines of the forest protection movement, and to build relationships with members of the Pacheedaht Nation.
The intersections of art, ecology and activism merge in this remarkable location and moment in history, providing rich terrain for art making and relationship building. As the project grows we aim to include a diverse group of artists, both indigenous and non-indigenous, who work in a range of art forms, from painting to performance.
Help Us Make This Program a Success
We are seeking funds to buy a better wall tent and other infrastructure and equipment for the studio and art camp. We also hope to use funds for honorariums for Indigenous leaders, ecologists and others who share their knowledge and expertise with participating artists in order to enrich their understanding of and relationship to these forests and waterways.
Overview of the Ecological and Cultural Context
Ancient temperate rainforests sequester more carbon than any other ecosystem on earth and support an incredibly rich diversity of flora and fauna that can't be re-planted in a tree farm. Less than 2.7% of the original stands of ancient forests remain on Vancouver Island, and approximately 32 soccer fields a day are cut. Teal Jones plans to clearcut the last unprotected stands of ancient rainforest in TFL 46. It is estimated that all unprotected stands will be gone within 3-5 years.
The BC NDP government commissioned the Old Growth Strategic Review Panel to asses the current situation with old growth forests and provide recommendations. The panel's response was clear: stop old growth logging while relationships are being build with First Nations and shift to a sustainable forest industry based on second and third growth forests.
In 2020 The Union of BC Indian Chiefs called for a moratorium on old growth logging and asked the Provincial government for financial support to create alternatives to clearcutting the last stands of ancient forests on their territory, while providing long term employment that honours the recreational and cultural values of ancient forests. So far the government has continued with a talk and log strategy and time is running out.
The forest protection camps have been welcomed by elder Bill Jones, hereditary chief Victor Peter and other supportive members of the Pacheedaht and Dididaht Nations who want to see ancient forests protected for future generations. We are grateful for the opportunity as artists to draw inspiration from these sacred lands. We also recognize that the desire to save these forests in not universal within the Pacheedaht Nation. We respect Pacheedaht rights and title, and their need to choose their own path forward.
To learn more about the forest protection camps, organized by the Rainforest flying Squad, visit laststandforforests.com.
Visit the Eden Grove Artist in Residence program online at:
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