Montreal Promotes Environmental Awareness Through Artistic Installations

Photo by Guillaume Jaillet Courtesy of Unsplash

On April 22nd over one billion people worldwide celebrate Earth Day. While many choose to celebrate by immersing themselves in nature or turning off the lights for the day, there is an entire community of Montrealers that utilizes artistic installations to promote environmental awareness and showcase the beauty of the Earth.

This exhibit sheds light on the natural beauty of the world, as well as the increasing damage that has impacted our environment through greed, capitalism, and industrialization.

Until April 3, 2022, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is showcasing an exhibition called “Ecologies: A Song for Our Planet” that places significant emphasis on the importance of the word “ecology.” The event showcases a variety of different works from both Canadian and non-Canadian artists, which range from drawings to videos to sculptures, and more. As the general theme of the exhibition is ecology, each of the artists utilize their work to demonstrate their individual interpretations of the word, and what it means to them. While it highlights the beauty and diversity that is present within the environmental world, it also recognizes the ongoing climate crisis, and the implications of human-induced emergencies, such as deforestation and pollution. The exhibition additionally highlights the way in which Indigenous communities have been negatively impacted by climate change and global warming. Overall, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts presents an eye-opening message through this exhibition. This exhibit sheds light on the natural beauty of the world, as well as the increasing damage that has impacted our environment through greed, capitalism, and industrialization.

The Biosphère is another Montreal institution that is dedicated to honouring the environment by “rais[ing] citizen awareness, action, and engagement on significant environmental issues in favour of the socio-ecological transition.” As part of this mission, the Biosphère showcases a multitude of artistic installations that each take a different creative approach to highlighting aspects of the environment. The Colours of the World exhibition, for example, displays National Geographic photos which spotlight the wide variety of colours that are present within the environment, as we tend to envision nature only in shades of green. Additionally, the Biosphère displays two other artistic installations called the Four Seasons Living Wall, an interactive wall that highlights the role of plants within the environment, and Illuminating the Biosphère, an interactive light show that emphasizes the positive relationship between nature and technology.

Montreal is known for its murals and street art, and many different works centred around nature, the environment, and artistic interpretations of the Earth are scattered throughout the city. Terre D’Accueil, a mural located at 1695 Saint Dominique Street, is one such example. Painted by Phillip Adams, this mural is an image of Mount Royal Park in which the sun is beaming shadows off of trees on a warm summer day. The artist utilizes one of Montreal’s most popular local attractions to showcase the Earth as one of the four basic elements. Duo-Denum is another mural painted by Danaé Brissonnet that presents an individual representation of the environment, which is entirely different from that of Phillip Adams’ Terre D’Accueil. This painting reflects on the relationship between humans and nature, and it is inspired by Atateken, the street that it is located on, which is a Mohawk word meaning “brother and sister.” Duo-Denum sheds light on the interconnected nature of humans and their environment, and it represents an idea of familiarity in which our environment can help to ground us in times of need.

Art promotes self-awareness, which allows us to reflect on the way in which individual and societal actions negatively impact the Earth.

Although April 22nd is officially marked as Earth Day, there is no single given moment to celebrate the Earth. As humans, we all have a role to play in honouring the natural environment, and artistic expression presents an innovative way of doing so. Art promotes self-awareness, which allows us to reflect on the way in which individual and societal actions negatively impact the Earth. Additionally, art allows us to better appreciate the beauty of the world around us. This upcoming Earth Day, these artistic installations are one of many ways that we can honour our planet while helping to support the greater community of local Montreal artists. As Earth Day approaches, we should all take the time to invest in our Earth. Whether this be by recycling, picking up trash, or even going on a walk, no action is too small.            

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