As Artivists, we act against injustice and oppression by raising social-environmental awareness and holding powerful forces accountable through creative expression. Our art, infused with courage, strength, and compassion, dares to push the boundaries of possibility, reflecting the potential for profound transformation.
Protecting Sacred Sites
In the Summer of 2021, a 25-foot totem pole carved by the House of Tears carvers traveled across the US, stopping for ceremonies and events with communities standing up to protect sacred places threatened by resource extraction and industrial development. The totem pole and the painting aimed to strengthen relationships, honor, and empower communities. "The pole carries the spirit of the lands it visits and the power and prayers of communities along the way—ultimately delivering these prayers, power, and demands to the Biden-Harris Administration and Congress in Washington DC," stated RedRoadtodc.org.
Freeing Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut Means Protecting the Sea
The Salish Sea Campaign is working to bring the orca Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut out of captivity and back home to the Salish Sea. Once called Lolita, then called Tokitae, and now given the Lummi name Sk’aliCh’elh-tenau, she was violently taken from L-pod in 1970 and has been held at Miami Seaquarium ever since. Lummi Nation’s Sovereignty and Treaty Protection Office works with The Orca Network, The Whale Sanctuary Project, and others. For more information, visit SacredSea.org
Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut sister is not only a model for resilience and determination, but she is also a true ambassador for freedom to all living beings and for recognizing the natural rights of qwe'lhol'mechen (orcas) to exist as they have since time immemorial. Her freedom asks us to recognize, uphold, and celebrate the family ties between the Lhaq'temish (Lummi Nation people) and the Southern Resident Killer Whales.
We Say Welcome To Sri Lankan Refugees
In 2010, as the Government of Canada incarcerated 490 people (including women and children) who arrived at the shores of English asking for asylum, this banner asked people walking the streets of downtown Vancouver to reflect deeper on the State’s oppressive actions.
Over a decade after the MV Sun Sea docked in B.C., Tamil refugees still await permanent residency.
Amid escalating conflicts, environmental upheavals, and socioeconomic disparities, the world grapples with an unprecedented refugee challenge. Millions uprooted, seeking safety and survival. Collaborative efforts are imperative to address root causes, ensure human rights, and foster global solidarity for a more compassionate future.
Daylight the Underground Streams
Numerous salmon-bearing streams were concealed by urban development in Vancouver, including the St. George Street area where an underground stream now flows. This mural marks a modest stride in ongoing endeavors to 'daylight' the St. George Rainway stream, symbolizing our commitment to ecological restoration and community awareness.
Over the past decade, salmon populations have faced a dire crisis due to habitat loss, overfishing, and climate change. Urgent conservation measures are vital to safeguard these iconic species, restore ecosystems, and preserve the cultural and ecological significance they hold for communities and ecosystems alike.
It Takes Courage To Be A Queer Refugee
While Vancouver can be known to be a haven for many LGBTQ2SI worldwide, it can also be very difficult for folks asking for asylum to face the racism embedded in the system, organizations, and queer communities.
The plight of queer refugees globally has gained prominence. Escaping persecution based on sexual orientation or gender identity, people are seeking safety and acceptance. Advocacy and policy changes are crucial to ensure protection, rights, and integration, fostering a more inclusive global society.
Yes To Life, No To Mining Abuse
Canadian mining companies are devastating Latin American countries by destroying the lands, the social fabric of the communities, and long-term local economies. Local people from San Miguel Ixtahuacan, and Huehuetenango, shared their stories with Canadians through a 30ft. banner. A year later, UBC students created a second 30ft. banner for Guatemalans that says 'We Are All Being Lied To." Then, a third 30ft. banner circulated at many events in Vancouver asking organizations to divest from mining companies. "When lives and land are the cost of golden corporate funding, which business are you in?” Asked this third banner.
Global mining exacerbates climate change with emissions, deforestation, and resource depletion. Urgent reforms are vital, transitioning to sustainable practices that mitigate environmental impact, uphold community rights, and align with climate goals for a resilient future.
The Elephant In The Room
Young immigrant/refugee adults challenge decision-makers in London, Ontario, to reflect deeper on diversity and inclusion in the private, public, and social sectors.
Immigrant youth are instrumental in tackling workplace discrimination. Their unique experiences spotlight cultural diversity, driving conversations about inclusion. By sharing their stories, they raise awareness, promote understanding, and inspire workplaces to create environments that celebrate differences and combat discrimination effectively.
Protect the Burrard Inlet
Several tankers pass through the Burrard Inled every week. Tsleil-Waututh Nation and supporters say no to Trans Mountain Pipeline and tankers. The federal and provincial governments approved this project aiming to expand an existing pipeline from Alberta to the west coast of Canada.
Pipelines raise concerns due to potential environmental, social, and economic impacts. Leakage or spills can lead to devastating pollution, harming ecosystems and water sources. Pipelines can disrupt indigenous lands and communities as well. Additionally, their role in transporting fossil fuels can contribute to climate change. Balancing energy needs with these concerns is crucial.
Health For All
Among many Vancouverites, Sanctuary Health pushes to ensure everyone has access to healthcare regardless of immigration status. The fear of debt, deportation, and death should not limit people’s access to services. The responsibility of enforcing immigration law falls onto Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) alone, and it is NOT the responsibility of service providers, health care workers, other police agencies, transit security, nor the municipal government.
Sanctuary cities protect immigrants by limiting cooperation with federal immigration enforcement, fostering trust, enhancing community safety, and upholding human rights.