B.C. artist Brian Jungen, filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal to discuss Anthropocene at Art Gallery of Ontario event

The event will be livestreamed by CBC for online viewers

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      An internationally renowned B.C.–based artist will participate in a discussion about the role of art in human survival at an Ontario art gallery that viewers will be able to watch online.

      Anthropocene is the proposed name for the current geological era in which humans have had a significant impact upon the Earth's geology and ecosystems.

      It's also the name of an exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) that began on September 28 and runs until January 6.

      The exhibition by Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky and filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier features a series of photographs, murals, film installations, and augmented-reality installations that documents the irreversible effects human have had on the environment.

      Baichwal's latest documentary Anthropocene: The Human Epoch, which was released on September 28, is part of the exhibition. It's also the third film in a series with de Pencier and Burtynsky, which takes a look at the transformation and devastation taking place across the planet due to human activity.

      Artist Brian Jungen, who is of Dane-Zaa and Swiss ancestry, has addressed his concerns about the environment, Indigenous rights, and inequality through sculptures made from repurposed commercial goods ranging from Nike footwear to plastic chairs. Jungen, who graduated from the Emily Carr College of Art and Design in 1992, is based in the North Okanagan and is represented by Catriona Jeffries in Vancouver.

      As part of the AGO Creative Minds speaker series, Jungen and Baichwal will join U.S. environmental lawyer, Waterkeeper Alliance president, and author Robert F. Kennedy Jr. for 90 minutes of debate and discussion about sustainability, the gap between the reality of climate change and what is being done to address it, and the role of art in creating change.

      “Historically, it has taken a crisis to instigate abrupt social change," Jungen stated in an AGO news release. "Maybe art can propel that change, but I believe climate change won’t wait for art to make the first move. It’s critical to both discuss and act on climate change now by, for instance, adopting sustainable farming practices.”

      Brian Jungen, Prototype for New Understanding #11, 2002, nike air jordans, human hair, 26 x 23 x 10 in. (67 x 58 x 25 cm)
      Catriona Jeffries

      The event, which will also feature a performance by singer-songwriter Martha Wainwright, will take place in Toronto at 8 p.m. on December 3 but those on the West Coast can watch it livestreamed on the CBC Arts Facebook webpage, YouTube channel, and CBC Arts website.

      Information and tickets for the event are available online.