‘Banned on the Hill’ Makes Headlines
TORONTO STAR Franke James Goes To Washington: By Jane Gerster
Toronto activist Franke James takes protest art to Capitol Hill: “Franke James is about to do the very thing she says the government tried two years ago to prevent: take her art and message abroad.
Tuesday the Toronto artist and activist is leaving for Washington, D.C., armed with her signature protest art, this time taking aim at the Tar Sands and the Canadian government’s position on the Keystone XL pipeline.
The original artwork, which will be showcased as six different bus-stop advertisements, combines James’ passion for art, environmental issues and concerns over the state of freedom of expression in Canada.
The three ideas, for her, have become intertwined.” (See also: OhNoCanada.com)
AGO & CANADIAN JOURNALISTS FOR FREE EXPRESSION: 4 Warning Signs that Free Expression is at Risk In Canada
Ai Weiwei: Voices of Freedom: Franke James presents her 4 Warning Signs that Free Expression is at Risk In Canada. “If art has to agree with government policies, then art is government propaganda”
DALHOUSIE Painting a picture of dissent ESS Lecture Series kicked off by Franke James
““Making Harper’s blacklist is something I never dreamed of, but I’ve got lots of company,” she says.
Last Thursday marked the beginning of this fall’s series of weekly Environment, Sustainability and Society Lectures, hosted by the College of Sustainability. The series brings people of differing views on current environmental issues to speak with students, faculty and the public. The series kicked off with author and artist James, described by College Director Steve Mannell as “the one woman the government can’t shut up.” (Her lecture was co-sponsored by the Dalhousie Art Gallery.)” See also, “Banned on the Hill” Goes to Halifax!
BROKEN PENCIL: Art Under Harper Interview with artist Franke James, playwright Michael Healey, and Charles Foran PEN Canada.
“Franke James never thought she was on the government’s radar. Sure, she’s depicted Prime Minister Stephen Harper as a yellow-eyed devil, (“Fat Cat Canada’s Giant Litter Box,” 2009), frothing tar at the mouth, bobbing down the Athabasca River in an oil drum (“Hey Prime Minister” 2012) and hot-tubbing shirtless in an interactive “Whack the PM” game (Whackthepm.ca, 2008); still, as an independent artist, she’s never relied on funding from the federal government, and Canada is one of those countries that allows that sort of truth-to-power cheek, right? Not always …
RABBLE: Franke James: Artist and activist extraordinaire! By Christopher Majka; “Franke James is a Canadian political and artistic phenomenon. A wicked thorn in the side of Stephen Harper; a woman fiercely passionate about the pressing need to address climate change; a witty and imaginative artist who would not acquiesce to having her work silenced and censored by the Harper government; and an activist and educator working to empower citizens and galvanize progressive change in our society…”
DOGWOOD Blacklisted Activist Fights Back With Chilling Censorship Story Canadian author and artist Franke James’s first-hand account of the federal government’s successful attempt to block her international art show …
DESMOG Canada Artist Franke James Live and (Actually) Uncensored (Since, Apparently, She Refuses to Be) Interview with Franke James:
“Who would ever think you could get into trouble for writing to the Prime Minister asking that we make polluters pay? Is this Canada or the Kremlin? I’ve been very openly criticizing the Conservatives for their short-sighted ‘economy versus the environment’ stance for years now. But I never expected them to lash out at me as an individual citizen because we live in a democratic country where free expression is protected under the Canadian charter. When I discovered what they were secretly doing behind-the-scenes I realized I needed to dig for evidence…”
Don Martin, CTV Power Play “It’s not nice to fool with Franke James.”
Don Martin interviews Franke James, Author of “Banned on the Hill’ & Climate Activist on CTV’s Power Play on May 30, 2013. Link
TORONTO STAR: Climate activist gets even with new book
Print headline, A6, May 27, 2013; By Raveena Aulakh
“Franke James, the artist in question, first got mad — now she is getting even. James, a Toronto-based activist with no shortage of gumption and political acumen, has turned the federal government’s efforts to silence her into a new book.
“Banned on the Hill: A True Story about Dirty Oil and Government Censorship was released last week and tells the story of how Canadian bureaucrats withdrew support for James because her views on climate change didn’t match those held by the Harper government. She has used access to information requests and visual essays to highlight how the Conservatives withdrew funding for the European art tour because, she writes, they didn’t like that she believes Canada is failing to act on climate change. “As a Canadian citizen, to know that the government is interfering in private business is really shocking. It’s undemocratic,” said James. “If art has to agree with government policy, then art is government propaganda.”
GRIST MAGAZINE: Artful Dodger: How one anti-Keystone activist fought the blacklist – A Franke discussion:
“Canadian artist Franke James knows how to convey gloomy information without being a downer. She takes a relentlessly cheerful, self-deprecating approach to issues too often screamed about by scolds and trolls. (It’s an approach we here at Grist admire.) Her illustrated essays call out individuals, corporations, and governments for their inadequate responses to environmental threats, but in an unfailingly good-natured way more likely to make you grin than grimace. Though her art reaches a wide audience, James is no subversive revolutionary; she herself says, “I don’t like to get in trouble for what I do.” So it’s hard to believe the Canadian government would be keeping its eye on her, much less interfering with her work.”
VANCOUVER OBSERVER: Deep pocket PR vs. artist Franke James: the fight’s on
By Andrea Bennett “If James’ recent interview with the Guardian is any indication, it seems Harper’s communication strategy has achieved the level of international notoriety, the apparent ‘the stuff of legend’… The attempt to silence Franke James has, instead, ensured that both her work and her message are recognized around the world.”
OTTAWA CITIZEN: Toronto artist Franke James says Harper government monitored her climate change artwork By Mike de Souza
“More than two dozen senior officials and diplomats in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government monitored information about a Toronto artist over her criticism of the oil and gas industry’s environmental performance. This behind the scenes reaction was described in passages from more than 2,000 internal federal emails and other records, featured in a new book – Banned on the Hill – released this month by the artist and environmental activist, Franke James.
“This is a small fraction of all the people who’ve been monitoring my file and this is ridiculous,” said James in an interview. “It’s simply by disagreeing with them that I made it on to their list.”
GLOBE AND MAIL: Conservative attacks are nothing but bullying
By Gerald Caplan
“Ms. Casault could have a great class on government bullying by introducing her kids to the shocking saga of Franke James. Ms. James is an artist/author/environmental activist. Her work is great fun for kids of all ages and they can Google her easily. Two years ago, she was supposed to have her work exhibited in 20 European cities. But the local NGO that was sponsoring her was bullied and intimidated so badly by Canadian officials that it pulled out and the entire show was canceled. Her terrible crime? As a spokesperson for our government candidly explained, Ms. James’ show was about climate change and her opinions were contrary to those of the government. That was it. Here’s the big message that all kids better learn if they’re to survive in a bullying culture. With the rarest exception, Stephen Harper and his minions never ever admit they’re wrong. Whatever they do is always honorable, whatever opponents do is always dishonorable. Even, repeatedly, smack in the middle of the entire WrightDuffyGate scandal, led by the Prime Minister himself boasting to his caucus that no government has ever been more accountable than his.”
HUFFINGTON POST CANADA The story of Franke James and the art of activism
By Kevin Grandia
“Franke James is doing what every Canadian is taught from an early age: to stand up and fight for what you believe is right. Franke has turned her art, her story and her activism into a visually stunning book, Banned on the Hill: a True Story about Dirty Oil and Government Censorship, and on Monday her book got international attention with a feature in UK’s Guardian media outlet. The attention is well deserved. Her art is very cool, and no doubt the success of her new book will rekindle the emotions that her state-censored European exhibit elicited from the ruling Conservative Party.”
GUARDIAN UK: Artist finds inspiration in Canadian government’s attempt to silence her – by Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent
“Visual essays by Franke James reveal how the ‘troublesome artist’ was targeted because her views on climate change clashed with the push to develop Alberta’s tar sands.”
“Canada, under the government of Stephen Harper, has exhibited little patience for dissent. The government has muzzled government scientists, insulted Nasa climate experts, and dismissed environmental protesters as dangerous radicals.
“But there is apparently one woman whom the government can’t shut up: the Toronto environmental writer, illustrator and activist Franke James, who turned the efforts to silence her into material for a new book. Banned on the Hill: A True Story about Dirty Oil and Government Censorship, released this week, shows how Canadian bureaucrats tried to silence James because her views on climate change clashed with the Harper government’s push to develop Alberta’s tar sands. The story is told through visual essays as well as official emails obtained by James, in which government bureaucrats discuss the troublesome artist and her work.” Link
“What happens when a government yanks cultural funding in order to muzzle an artist who is “off message” on Canada’s tarsands? If the artist is Franke James, you get one beautiful, colourful, well-documented and angry book that takes us from the offending art bound for Europe to the government e-mails that blacklisted it — to the spirited push-back by artists and civil libertarians outraged over the censorship. Documenting the episode and its aftermath like a graphic novel, the book is gorgeous and defiant. And it’s a tidy lesson for government: When you try to shut up an artist, the artist might just get a whole lot louder. A great read.”
On May 2, 2013, CJFE launched the publication of its annual Review of Free Expression in Canada with “a salon-style conversation focusing on this hard won and frequently challenged Charter right.” The evening honoured World Press Freedom Day on May 3. Franke James spoke about free expression and presented excerpts from her new book, “Banned on the Hill”. See the live blog from the event
Canada’s Unsettling Climate: An Interview with Franke James by Dave Heidebrecht
“In a free and open society, individuals should expect to be able to voice their views and opinions openly, without fear of censure or punishment. Living in the relative comfort of a parliamentary democracy such as Canada, most of us believe that though we may not always agree with the ideologies of the party in power, we still have the right to freely share our views on issues that have an impact on our lives…” Link
Freedom to Read 2013: Return of the Blacklist by Charles Monpetit.
“The problem wasn’t the loss of a token government grant, wrote [Franke James] in her blog. The deeper issue was tolerance of dissent in a democracy: “I thought the Canadian embassies were there to help all Canadians… The government should not be telling anyone not to exhibit my art, just because I disagree with unethical oil.”” Link
ForestEthics Interviews Franke James on Art & Political Activism. “Art and political activism are the absolute perfect marriage. There’s a long history of art being used to help further social causes — women winning the right to vote, anti-war demonstrations, Earth Day — I fit right into that groove, which is neat. It’s also fun to realize what sets artists apart from scientists and journalists. We can weave symbols, facts, opinions, thoughts, emotion and color all together to raise awareness and inspire action. Sometimes I think that artists are like ad agencies for the planet.”
Canzine Toronto: Chill Against Political Dissent in Art
Kingston Arts Council: “Censorship and the Public Display of Art“, featuring keynote speaker Franke James, author, activist and artist,
Corporate Knights ‘Ending the Battle over Bitumen’: Franke James interviews people from 4 stakeholder groups (oil, environment, local community, and Aboriginal) and asks, “Is it time for Canada to create a stewardship council for the oil sands?” [Republished on FrankeJames.com]
Yahoo Canada Politics: Environmental groups chide Harper government for taking credit for emission reductions
CityTV’s: Electric Playground interviews essayist Franke James about “What is Harper afraid of?”
“Many Canadians are not aware of the fundamental changes that the Harper Government is making to environmental policies in order to facilitate big oil’s development. It is putting our air and water and land at risk.” [link]
Franke James’ post: Enbridge Spin Doctor Snarls about “Dirty Oil” Essay
What happened when a “somebody” in the Oil and Gas industry dropped by… [link]
Fort McMurray Today
June 19, 2012: Anti-Gateway comic gathering steam
New York Times Green
June 19, 2012: Activist Artist vs. Pipeline
June 13, 2012: Harper government targeted artist for her green conscience, internal documents reveal
Guest Blog: Franke James Asks “What’s Harper Afraid Of?”
“Canadian Artist Franke James Calls Stephen Harper And Joe Oliver Out In This Hard-Hitting Visual Essay. [link]
The Politics of Charity: “No Advocacy? No Progress”
Franke James writes “In the fight over social policies, most charities are in the corner of the defenseless, impoverished and vulnerable. Thinking specifically of the environment – how much more defenseless can you get than air, water and wilderness? Who is going to stand up to protect Canada’s natural resources from destructive exploitation if environmental charities cannot?” [Also on Franke's site]