Environmental Justice Art

Painting of the ongoing colonization of Native America and Statue of Liberty by Bunky Echo-Hawk (Yakama/Pawnee), acrylic on canvas, 30" x 40" private collector.

I have recently had the opportunity to visit the encampments at Standing Rock, and got to visit with many of the protectors there. The environmental justice issues at stake there are being addressed in a powerful, prayerful way. It’s truly inspiring to see so many people involved on the front lines, in the camps, and online.

It is my personal hope and prayer that this synergy strengthens, and grows. As huge as the Dakota Access Pipeline fight has become, sadly, it is but one of our environmental justice fights. I hope and pray that the energy behind this movement can be brought to the front lines in other states.

In my opinion, it comes down to raising awareness. The vast majority of environmental threats dwell in Indian Country and along our borders, often in economically depressed minority neighborhoods. The government and predatory corporations seek out places that could (will/do) effect our communities. Without public awareness, these issues will continue to occur in our back yards.

I’ve been creating art for decades that illustrates our plight, our journey as we seek environmental justice. Here are a few recent paintings.

"Simple Math" by Bunky Echo-Hawk

“Simple Math” | acrylic on canvas | 20″ x 16″ | 2016

I call this painting “Simple Math” because to me, it should be an obvious understanding that water is greater than oil. You can’t drink oil. You can’t even drill for oil without water. Water is life.

Baby Oil by Bunky Echo-Hawk

“Baby Oil” | acrylic on canvas | 30″ x 40″ | 2016

“Baby Oil” illustrates our dependence on oil as a society. The baby nipple on the oil bottle means two things: you can’t drink oil, and eventually, we need to ween ourselves off of oil. It’s time to explore and utilize renewable energy.


Big Oil Protectors

“Big Oil Protectors” | acrylic on canvas | 30″ x 40″ | 2016

“Big Oil Protectors” is an illustration of the brute police actions being employed by North Dakota. The people show up with prayers, the police show up in riot gear. It’s astounding that journalists are being arrested, unarmed peaceful protectors are being strip searched and jailed, and that they unleash attack dogs. The police are decked out in military grade gear and carry assault rifles and shotguns. It is plain to see the extent the state will take to protect Big Oil interests.

#nodapl #bigoilfail #mortoncountsheriff

Back into the studio…

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