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Creative Minds: Art and Survival

October 16th, 2018

Image by the AGO

Can art be the bridge we need to turn talking about climate change into action? The AGO’s acclaimed speaker series, Creative Minds, returns Monday, December 3 at Koerner Hall for a timely discussion on art, sustainability and the environment.

This edition brings American environmental activist, attorney, and author Robert F. Kennedy Jr., award-winning documentary filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal, and internationally celebrated artist Brian Jungen to the stage for a lively 90-minute conversation about the gap between what we know about climate change and our actions to mitigate the damage, as well as exploring the role of art in mobilizing change and creating sustainable futures. AGO Creative Minds: Art and Survival kicks off with a performance by Canadian singer-songwriter Martha Wainwright.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is senior council for Waterkeeper Alliance, a non-profit organization that fights for every community’s right to drinkable, fishable, swimmable water.  “As the recent UN climate report shows, we are running out of time to prevent the worst consequences of climate change,” says Kennedy. “That is why it is so important we are having conversations like Creative Minds to explore avenues for sparking meaningful action. As history shows, art can be a powerful tool for social change – and right now, we need every effective tool we can use.”

Baichwal has long documented how humans have impacted the planet in films such as Watermark and Manufactured Landscapes. Her latest project, with filmmaker Nicholas de Pencier and photographer Edward Burtynsky, is a multi-disciplinary project, including an exhibition on now at the AGO and a documentary film entitled Anthropocene: The Human Epoch. “If reversing climate change were easy, we would have figured it out already. Acknowledging the complexity of the problem, and the extent of our implication, can help clarify our collective way forward,” Baichwal says.

Renowned for his striking sculptures made out of repurposed commercial goods and materials, for over 20 years, Brian Jungen has expressed through his work a concern for the environment and Indigenous rights to self-determination.  An alumnus of the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Jungen is an artist of mixed European and Indigenous heritage. His work explores a long history of cultural inequality and a profound commitment to Indigenous ways of knowing and making. A rancher with over 200 acres in British Columbia, he grapples daily with how to raise cattle in a sustainable way. His goal is self-sufficiency. “Historically, it has taken a crisis to instigate abrupt social change. Maybe art can propel that change, but I believe climate change won’t wait for art to make the first move,” says Jungen. “It’s critical to both discuss and act on climate change now by, for instance,  adopting sustainable farming practices.”

Don’t miss this exciting event. Book your tickets early. AGO Members will receive a special 10% discount on tickets the first week of sales, the promotion ends on October 24 at 11:59 pm. There will be a limit of four tickets per transaction.

Tickets for AGO Creative Minds go on sale today – Oct. 16. Tickets will be sold through the Koerner Hall Box Office. They will be available online at, by phone at 416.408.0208, or in person at the TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning.

AGO Creative Minds is supported by Series Presenters Jonas and Lynda Prince.

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