4th Year, Art Education Specialization
oil paint and collage on canvas
36” x 36”
In Tailings Beach two contradictory realities are juxtaposed: the benign enjoyment of swimming in lakes, rivers, and beaches and the horror of our increasingly toxic waters, desecrated by oil extraction and pollution. The “ tailings” of the title are mining industry waste like those produced by the Tar Sands in Alberta, one of the largest oil extraction projects in North America. The project is continuing to expand, despite great protest.
The painting aims to create a paradox, a shock as the viewer tries to understand why the figures in the painting are bathing in toxic water. Wrestling with this conundrum, the viewer is encouraged towards a critical consideration of our society’s environmental obliviousness. From an art education perspective, this painting represents the importance of teaching about environmental justice, global warming, and the politics of the oil industry. I strongly believe that becoming aware of our changing environment is crucial, and should be reinforced in educational practice.