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As Long As the Sun Shines / Ian Willms

September 2016

© Ian Willms

Exhibit opening, screening, & talk
Monday Sept. 12, 2016, 7:30 PM
Moderated by New York Times Lens Blog editor and photographer James Estrin

The Canadian government is leasing out 141,000 square kilometres of indigenous territory to the world's largest energy corporations in order to develop Canada's Oil Sands. Those territories were safeguarded over 100 years ago in Treaty 8, signed by the Queen of England and 39 indigenous bands in northern Alberta, Canada


The Oil Sands are the third largest proven oil deposits on Earth and worth an estimated $1.7 trillion to Canada’s GDP over the next 20 years. Developing this resource involves an energy-intensive process which contaminates the air, water and traditional food sources like wild game and berries.


High instances of cancer, miscarriages, lupus, skin abscesses and other ailments beset communities of The First Nations of northern Alberta. Their local economies of hunting, fishing and fur trading have been decimated by industrial development. The oil industry is now the number one employer for the indigenous peoples in the region, forcing many into a bitter compromise between their cultural identity and the need to feed their families.

~ Ian Willms


IAN WILLMS strives, through a lyrical approach to documentary,  to convey the emotional environment surrounding his subjects. He has shown his work in exhibitions and installations at venues around the world, including the Museum of Photographic Arts, Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography, and Photoville. Among the awards his photo essays have won are a Canada Council for the Arts grant, an Ontario Arts Council grant, and the CONTACT Photography Festival Exhibition Award.

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