Edward Burtynsky was born in 1955 in St. Catharines (Ontario), and is considered one of the most accomplished contemporary photographers. His work immerses us in the contradictory world that we ourselves have created. The beauty of his images collides head-on with the meaning they hold, as they perfectly reflect the way nature has been altered by our intrusion, generating forms and compositions that can be as visually appealing as they are disturbing because of what they show: that industry and mass production are incompatible with the preservation of nature.
Edward Burtynsky’s contribution to Confinement Archive was motivated by Earth Day, celebrated on 22nd April, where the artist speaks to us through a video in which he reflects on the crisis produced by the covid19 and its relationship and coincidence with the era of climatic emergency that we are experiencing and which is getting worse every day. A problem for which we humans are undoubtedly the most responsible.
An Earth Day Message
An Earth Day Message From Edward Burtynsky
Right now the message of Earth Day, on its 50th anniversary, seems more urgent than ever. There’s no doubt that the ravenous human appetite to conquer nature has compelled us to encroach on natural habitats and biodiversity in an ever-expanding way, and that this has led us to where we are today — isolated at home with a new pathogen determined to wreak global havoc. It seems the paradigm has shifted: where humans once had our collective boot on nature’s neck, we now find ourselves with nature’s boot firmly pressed against ours.
Gerhard Richter once said that “art is the highest form of hope” and my hope is that during this time in isolation I am able to create a suite of images, going back to my roots and looking at nature, with proceeds going directly to support the art sector in Canada.
The arts have taken an oversized hit during these times and will continue to suffer enormously because of this crisis. And yet, it is the artists, musicians, filmmakers and performers to whom we are all turning for catharsis, relaxation, distraction, entertainment and, perhaps most importantly, hope. Artists now need our support as much as we need theirs.
I do not know what the next few months will bring, but in this time of isolation and contemplation, I can be assured of one very important thing: the future of life on this planet rests in our hands. There may one day soon be a vaccine for this virus, but there is no vaccine for climate change.
Until such a time as life can return to something we are a little more familiar with, please stay safe and be well.