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Esquimalt art exhibit highlights complexity of climate crisis

Paintings explore the fragility of existence, artist Claire Gaulin-Brown says
Artist Claire Gaulin-Brown holds up one of the pieces in her solo exhibit Hollow Ground, on display at the Esquimalt Community Arts Hub until the end of January. (Courtesy of Esquimalt Community Arts Hub)

A new Esquimalt art exhibit is using intricate paintings of animals and plants to draw attention to an issue that’s been top of mind for many B.C. residents in the last year – climate change.

Hollow Ground is a 17-piece display by Island artist Claire Gaulin-Brown.

“It’s a body of work that shows how fragile our existence is and that we’re walking on hollow ground that might fall out from under us at any moment,” Gaulin-Brown said in a release. “I’ve tried to express this fragility and interconnectedness in my work by weaving together different animals and creating pieces that appear simple or cheerful on the surface, but are actually quite complex and intricate.”

In one piece, three herons are seen knotted together with a tree protruding from each of their beaks. Two others show bouquets of vibrant flowers displayed in colourless animal skulls.

All of the pieces are both beautiful and disturbing.

READ ALSO: Vancouver Island artist connecting to Nuu-chah-nulth heritage in the city

A few are autobiographical, speaking to experiences Gaulin-Brown has had with the natural world.

“When I was a kid, I would often go out and explore the woods surrounding where we lived. One piece, What We Found Just Beneath, is sort of an homage to that time. It’s a collection of small items I could have picked up on those nature walks,” she said.

All her work, in and out of the exhibit, focuses on themes of environmentalism.

In September, Gaulin-Brown’s art was also featured in Esquimalt’s first mural festival. Her colourful piece called A Migration showed the movement of animals, something she told Black Press Media she hoped made people think about the journey of life.

Hollow Ground is on display at the Esquimalt Community Arts Hub, 901 Esquimalt Rd., until Jan. 28. Gallery hours can be found at

READ ALSO: Muralists make mesmerizing marks on Esquimalt neighbourhoods

A piece in Claire Gaulin-Brown exhibit Hollow Ground. (Courtesy of Esquimalt Community Arts Hub)

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About the Author: Greater Victoria News Staff

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