Kyle Scheurmann | Thank You, I'm Sorry

Kyle Scheurmann Paintings Available for Sale at Bau-Xi Gallery Toronto and Vancouver

Kyle Scheurmann | Thank You, I'm Sorry 
March 9 - 30, 2023
340 Dundas St West, Toronto
Opening Reception Thursday, March 9, 5:30-7:30pm | Artist in Attendance 

Bau-Xi Gallery is thrilled to present Thank You, I'm Sorry, the highly-anticipated solo exhibition by Kyle Scheurmann. The artist documents the incremental approach of climate change in his narrative-based paintings, while simultaneously working on conservation and activism efforts in Canada.

"Tripods, tomato soup, super glue and tree-sits.

RCMP raids, vague legislation, greenbelt housing and oil execs hosting COP.

Willful ignorance, cognitive dissonance, existential fears, and uncertainty.
30% by 2030, green new deals, strategic review panels and conservation financing.

Corydalis, Fireweed, Fir, and Cedar.
Truth and reconciliation.

These are hopeful paintings.

There’s so much going on in the fight for our environment, it's impossible to keep track. As the last of the Forest Protectors make their way through the BC court system, facing sentencing for their brave and public frontline actions in defence of ancient forests in the Fairy Creek watershed, a transition to a different type of activism is becoming increasingly more important; a type of activism that anyone can practice, including you.

It is the activism of amplification – of continuing to shout with increasing frequency; ‘We need to take climate action right now!’

The government is starting to listen – albeit slowly – with their recent pledge following COP15 to protect 30% of the land in Canada by 2030, including new legislation to ensure that the provincial governments also do their parts to protect areas under their own jurisdictions. But how do we make this legislation into an effective reality? What do we say to our local MPs after we shout into their answering machine or send them an Instagram DM stating: ‘We need to take climate action RIGHT NOW!’

You can tell them that we need to protect the most endangered ecosystems first, meaning we need ecosystem-based targets. This new legislation provides little description of what should be protected to efficiently and meaningfully curb the biodiversity loss crisis. As a result, this effectively means that large swatches of land which may be less biodiverse and not of high resource value to industry (and therefore not in imminent danger of liquidation), could be more easily declared as “protected". While areas like this could be counted towards the 30% target, scores of other endangered ecosystems with rich biodiversity are exploited and ultimately destroyed. These at-risk ecosystems include the high-productivity old-growth forests of BC, the grasslands of the prairies, the mixed-deciduous forests of the Great Lakes – Saint Lawrence, and many more across the country.

Despite these increasingly juridical advances of exploitative resource extraction industries, it is paramount that we protect the most endangered and highly productive ecosystems. ‘We need to take climate action RIGHT NOW!’

You can also tell your MP that there are plenty of knowledgeable and experienced groups and communities who are working hard to safeguard these critical ecosystems – they just need funding. For example, many Indigenous communities are working to develop and establish Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas, or IPCAs. These IPCAs aim to protect the lands of their unceded territories via traditional ecological stewardship practices, which in turn strengthen indigenous culture and wellbeing.

Several of these IPCAs have been sitting in queues for far too long. They await the necessary funding needed in order to bring these protected areas to fruition by supporting community capacity, including land use planning, which can often take years. In instances like these, government funding and resources are vital to developing the important role that IPCAs and conjoining Indigenous-led land management will play in helping Canada meet its 30% by 2030 targets. This simultaneously creates meaningful advancements to the country's commitments to reconciliation.

However, up until now, support from the provincial governments has often been insufficient. ‘We need to take climate action RIGHT NOW!’.

One example of an IPCA project in progress is the Salmon Parks initiative on Mowachaht/Muchalaht and Nuchatlaht territory, with a mission to “protect and restore expansive areas of forest habitat surrounding key salmon streams and to improve forest practices on the rest of the landscape.” Another example is the Kanaka Bar Band IPCA, described by Chief Jordan Spinks as an opportunity that will not only “allow the community to gather the abundant food and medicine plants here, it gives us the opportunity to employ membership to heal ecosystems damaged by placer mining and other settler activities over the past couple centuries.”

Thankfully, government financing isn’t the only way to support these IPCAs. Last year, long-time BC conservationists formed the Nature-Based Solutions Foundation (NBSF), a new national organization created to fill key conservation funding gaps to protect the country's most endangered ecosystems, including support of established IPCAs, by using a strategic and proven conservation financing model inspired by the approach used to protect the Great Bear Rainforest. Currently, NBSF is working to safeguard the most endangered old-growth forests in BC through a project called the "Old-Growth Solutions Initiative" (OGSI). Already, NBSF has provided key support to two Indigenous communities by funding capacity to develop new protected areas. They have also purchased and protected an old-growth forest on private land to give back to the Kanaka Bar Band in support of their IPCA vision.

So, as you look at these paintings of what may seem like the end, try to think of them instead as a new beginning.

Because no matter how loud we all shout, we’re never going to get back those ancient forests lost to wildfire or industrial logging. Our rivers and streams have already swelled well beyond their banks, displacing and changing their natural ecosystems forever.

But maybe – hopefully – this is as bad as it’s gonna get.

These are hopeful paintings.

Welcome to the new frontline of climate change.

We’re all Forest Protectors now."

- Kyle Scheurmann, 2023

Kyle Scheurmann acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts


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