Upcoming Exhibition: This Land Is Our Land: The Greenbelt Dichotomy
THIS LAND IS OUR LAND: THE GREEN BELT DICHOTOMY
Jan Yates, Michelle Teitsma, Gordon Leverton, Jefferson Campbell Cooper
Artists concerned, informed and moved by the Greenbelt Legislation in Southern Ontario
February 4 – March 25, 2012
Opening Reception: Sunday February 5th from 2 - 4pm
Intended to preserve agricultural land from development, the Ontario greenbelt legislation has had the additional effect of depriving many farmers of control over their land and activities and of the potential to turn their land into a reasonable retirement income. The artists in the Greenbelt Collective all live in areas affected by the legislation and through their works they address the complex and contentious issues created by the legislation. The artists are using their works and research to create a better understanding in the community of the effect of the legislation on rural individuals. In their joint statement the artists of the Greenbelt Collective say:
The Greenbelt Legislation protects almost two million acres, making it the largest policy of its kind in the world. At the start of this project we predicted opposition to the legislation by developers, but we were not prepared for the resistance of farmers and growers to the law and to the constraints it has imposed on their land. In effect, the legislation tells them what they can and cannot do with the land that they have farmed, depended on and invested in all their lives or in many cases for several generations.
… we were compelled to investigate further. We conducted research by visiting and interviewing landowners, farmers and those in the public sector. In addition, we gathered information and corresponded with many individuals and organizations; including Friends of the Greenbelt, Grape Growers of Ontario, Ontario Greenbelt Alliance and Environmental Defence. We also investigated whether the Greenbelt legislation provided protection for old growth trees, flora, migratory birds and wildlife threatened by urban sprawl.
Initially hailed as the saviour by some of those working to conserve and protect our natural lands, the Greenbelt legislation has become a source of frustration and anger for others. Our combined body of work challenges preconceptions and presents a diverse and compelling exploration of Ontario's Greenbelt.
This Land is Our Land is part of a series of exhibitions and programs at the GPAG that examine the nature of Niagara in recognitions of the formative role that the War of 1812 had on the region. During the years 2012 -2015 we will be examining the Niagara region in a variety of ways that will help all of us better understand our historic origins, how this history has shaped our present and how it might influence our future.
For more information on the Ontario Greenbelt please visit: http://www.greenbelt.ca/