Artists for Climate Justice & FASA Paint the Town

Mobilizing Student Communities at Concordia to Unite for Climate Justice

  • Artists for Climate Justice in collaboration with the Fine Arts Student Alliance put on a workshop for art making in the advent of the Global Day of Manifestation for Climate Justice on Nov. 29. Photo Esteban Cuevas

  • Visual art is a language that can express messages in a complimentary way to words. Photo Esteban Cuevas

Colourful cardstock, foam sheets, markers, crayons, scissors, and glue sticks: the beginning of every protest artwork. Tell your story, spread your message.

With simple tools, you can create a powerful message, an image that speaks beyond the
channels where voices can reach.

The newly formed group called Artists for Climate Justice hosted its first art making event Nov. 25 at Le Frigo Vert. ACJ is geared towards Concordia fine arts students.

The small group created posters and artworks for the Global Day of Manifestation for Climate Justice on Nov. 29.

“As artists, we have a very strong visual language that we can communicate with and bring discussion to certain difficult subjects,” said Clara Micheau, the Fine Arts Student Alliance finance coordinator.

“As artists, we have a very strong visual language that we can communicate with and bring discussion to certain difficult subjects.” — Clara Micheau

This event was a collaboration between FASA and ACJ as part of La planète s’invite à l’université, which is a coalition group in universities across Quebec.

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Being an artist herself, Micheau sees art making as an opportunity to shed light on the issue and communicate it wider audiences.

“[Climate justice] brings up a lot of different feelings and sometimes [it is] really hard to navigate those feelings while still trying to be active as a way to answer the big problem we are facing right now,” said Micheau.

Annabelle Bessette-Frappier, a print media artist, is one of the people who started ACJ.

“There was a down after the Sept. 27 march. I want to continue to manifest in every way I can,” said Bessette-Frappier. She is hoping to make more collaborations in the next semester, still centered around art making.

The art for climate justice event happened at Le Frigo Vert. Photo Esteban Cuevas

ACJ encourages community building by bringing together those who share the same ambition for the climate cause.

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Micheau explained it can be difficult to join a large unknown group, but when it is program-specific, finding a sense of belonging is much easier.

“I don’t think it should be difficult for anybody to be a part of this movement,” she added.

She explained it is important to fight for those who are in marginalized communities and who may be more affected.

Unique and quirky posters, combining craft with passion for a cause, allows each person to express their will to keep advocating.

“If you think about Greta Thunberg not going to school and going on strike and away, in my perspective, I see it as performance art, rejecting the daily grind,” said Jenna Short, a student in the design for the theatre program at Concordia.

“Why can’t our piece of art also do that?” Short added.

Short explained that integrating environmentalism and eco-friendly values from a young age and having role models who propagate that message is very inspiring and an integral part of shaping a generation’s outlook.

“Every day, making little manifestations, even though I’m not blocking streets,” said Bessette-Frappier. “I’m still making something.”

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