Art Justice

Environmental Artist Blacklisted by Canadian Government. You Can Help Turn the Tables.

Written by Sven Eberlein

“Who was the idiot who approved an art show by that woman, Franke James?”

Memorable words from one of Canada’s top officials on hearing that the Canadian Embassy in Croatia had offered support for Franke’s art show.

From Dear Prime Minister, by Franke James

Well, you’d think the government of a major western democracy would have better things to do than to sabotage and try to silence their most creative people, but, oh well, think again. Mind you, we’re not talking about any dark or satanic scribbles, but some of the most witty and self-reflective series of visual environmental commentary I’ve ever seen. And yes, Franke is one of the most delightful human beings ever, not just because I’ve had inspiring email exchanges with her, but because she does truly uplifting things like having dinner with a stranger. Check out any of her amazing visual essays, and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

So what’s going on? Well, the Canadian Government, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party, has been actively working to shut down Franke’s solo European art exhibition, which was set to tour 20 cities in Europe. I say “was” because the latest update is that Franke’s show got canceled after the government persuaded her corporate sponsor to cancel their $75,000 sponsorship, and the Croatian NGO who was organizing Franke’s “What can one person do?” art show to raise environmental awareness with youth and inspire teens to make their own climate change art was pulled into the crossfires of Canadian politics when they discovered that Franke was on the Canadian Government’s blacklist.

Blacklist??? WTF? What is this, 1953?

Check out the whole story, it reads like a cold war spy movie, but it basically comes down to this:

But apparently, I’ve ignited the Harper Government’s fury by telling the truth about Canada’s footdragging on climate action. And having the audacity to advocate pollution taxes and tougher environmental policies on Alberta’s Tar Sands!

But as so often when the bully tries to overplay his hand, he risks shooting himself in the foot. See United breaks Guitars by another Canadian compatriot.

Silenced in Europe, Franke Gets Loud in Ottawa!

So now it’s time for Franke to push back, not only to expose the bully, but to expose the truth about the Canadian government’s extensive efforts in Europe to kill climate change legislation targeting the Alberta tar sands. She’s teamed up with a really cool organization,, who is helping to send her “banned” artwork to Ottawa, and launch a poster campaign on the city’s public billboards and bus shelters. We can help fund the campaign, and/or spread the word.

Let’s make sure Franke goes to Ottawa!

About the author

Sven Eberlein

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  • So. Not. Cool. Thanks for this, Sven. I’ve shared on my FB page….and alerted my artist husband who will likely share liberally with all of his social media contacts.

    • Thanks Tracie, it seems really hard to believe, doesn’t it. But I think they may be underestimating the power of communication. Thanks for passing it on, and many creative vibes to you and your artist husband.