March 1 – April 13, 2024
The Energy Futures Portfolio Project
The Main Gallery
Opening Reception: Friday March 1st, 7 -10 pm
Eveline Kolijn, project curator and contributing artist, experienced an international childhood that exposed her to remote places, where she learned to love unspoiled parts of nature. These experiences have been foundational. Reflecting on the necessity in our society to combat climate change and preserve biodiversity, her practice operates in the transdisciplinary space of art, science, and social activism. This path has led to a Fellowship with the Energy Futures Lab (EFL) in 2018. The non-profit Lab is based in Alberta and consists of 40 to 60 Fellows and support staff. They are a network of innovators and influencers with diverse views and come from government and communities, the energy sector, First Nations, non-profits, academia, and the arts. The EFL supports change-makers as they collaboratively explore the following question: How can we leverage Canada’s assets and innovation capacity to accelerate an inclusive and equitable transition to a prosperous net-zero future?
Combining her experience as a visual artist and a Fellow, Eveline invited submissions from 40 Alberta printmakers, writers, and poets. She connected this diverse group, ranging from emerging to veteran artists and authors, through a series of networking sessions with Fellows from the EFL. Next, artists and writers were paired, and everyone participated in informational group sessions with the Fellows- expert to learn about energy transition and be inspired. The resulting text and images have been published as an original fine-art print portfolio in tandem with a book publication. Both were launched in May 2023.
The artists and writers were free to choose their subject matter. Many go back to basics: the priority of having access to clean air, the soil of the earth, and water. The contributions are incredibly honest. While many decry the damaging pollution resulting from oil extraction, they acknowledge they are also part of its culture. Another strong theme is hope.
Alberta embodies a microcosm of issues that are encountered worldwide in the energy transition debate. Alberta, with most of its wealth derived from oil and gas, is steeped in today’s still dominant petro- culture. This relationship with fossil fuels creates resistance to change.
Alberta has a lot of potential for developing renewable energy, as it is rich in sun, wind, and geothermal heat. The challenges and opportunities around energy transition are encountered all over the globe, which makes the Alberta Story a Global Story. Providing a vision through an artistic lens can inspire, empower, and feed action. Artists cannot provide definitive answers or solutions, but they can envision, clarify, question, and experiment with the entangled narratives of the energy transition. Eveline hopes that the prints and texts from the Energy Futures portfolio will stimulate reflection and discussion on this matter.
The roster of Alberta-based printmakers participating in this project includes Sylvia Arthur, Kate Baillies, Carole Bondaroff, Katie Bruce, Hannah Gelderman, Jamie-Lee Girodat, Jill Ho-You, Jacqueline Huskisson, Liz Ingram, Mary Kavanagh, Eveline Kolijn, Kasia Koralewska, Heather Leier, Tara Manyfingers, Nadia Perna, Stan Phelps, Jessica Semenoff, Jared Tailfeathers, Alex R. M. Thompson, Heather Urness, and Jill Ho-You.
The group of Alberta-based writers and poets contributing to this project includes Lori Claerhout, Emma Gammans, Rosemary Griebel, Maggie Hanna, Richard Harrison, Mark Hopkins, Barb Howard, Larry Kapustka, Shannon Kernaghan, Monica Kidd, Alexis Kienlen, Michael J. Leeb, Kathryn Gwun-Yeen Lennon, Alice Major, Kim Mannix, Natalie Meisner, Mar’ce Merrell, Peter Midgley, Uchechukwu Peter Umezurike, and Donna Williams.
The portfolio is accompanied by a book publication, titled “Reimagining Fire. The Future of Energy”. It is published by Alberta’s Durvile and UpRoute Books. It contains expanded texts by the authors in the portfolio, as well as images and artists statements by the artists.
Jenna Butler reviewed the book in Alberta Views magazine on November 1, 2023: “One might claim that a book on energy arranged around a multiplicity of voices, perspectives and areas of expertise presents more problems than it solves. I’d argue that the opposite is true: that in sharing our stories and bringing together our diverse selves around a common cause as vital as this one, we begin the essential work of coming to common ground. These conversations are the foundation on which that future is built, every bit as much as the technologies we’ll choose to implement and the timescale on which we’ll decide to make the change.”
Eveline Kolijn is a printmaker and installation artist living and working in Calgary. Eveline received an MA in cultural anthropology from Leiden University in the Netherlands in 1986 and a BFA from the Alberta College of Art+ Design in 2008. She has participated in national and international exhibitions, residencies, public art projects, and community engagement. She has been published in various scientific publications. In 2019, she received the AUArts Alumni Legacy Award. She joined Alberta’s Energy Futures Lab as a Fellow in 2018 and has moved on to be an Ambassador for the Lab. She uses the arts and her Fellowship experience to promote energy literacy and awareness of a just energy transition.
She recently published the Energy Futures portfolio (2023) and edited an accompanying book, Reimagining Fire. The Future of Energy. The project is a collaboration between 60 printmakers, writers and energy experts.
The Sea permeated Eveline Kolijn’s upbringing. She spent her teens in the 1970’s beachcombing and scuba diving in the Caribbean—observing marine life and collecting seashells. These early experiences influenced her development as an artist and fostered her interest in the connection between art and science. Reconnecting with the island of Curaçao twenty years later, she found the state of coral reefs severely damaged and diminished. This intensely personal experience of witnessing first-hand the effects of climate change and other human-made environmental stresses on coral reefs, revived her old passion for marine biology, now with an underlying perspective of environmental concern. She explores a general question: what is nature and how do we position ourselves in it? Everything is connected through a web called the Biosphere. Eveline is fascinated with the concept of the Noösphere, defined by Vladimir Vernadsky a hundred years ago as the mental sphere of life; the capacity of human thought to change the biosphere. Now, we call this outcome the Anthropocene: the epoch of human impact on ecosystems, including climate change. What does it mean to be an artist in the age of the Anthropocene? How do we become ecologically intelligent? Eveline incorporates questions on anthropocentrism and decolonizing concepts of nature in her practice. She wants to use visual arts to translate the technical talk of science on climate change into the emotional domain of public discourse.
The Energy Futures Portfolio Project has received funding from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Calgary Arts Development and the Energy Futures Lab.
Top Image: Jill Ho-You, Model Homes (detail), cyanotype. Photo courtesy of the artist