Sask. landowner hopes 'Blued Trees Symphony' art project will stop pipeline
von Graevenitz hopes lawyer will take case and test laws in Saskatchewan
Leta von Graevenitz walks to a stand of trees in her field just south of Saskatoon. She pours a mix of milk, lemon, blue powder dye and other ingredients into a bucket.
"I try not to splash. You want it as thick as possible so it adheres to the tree better," she says to a visitor.
von Graevenitz pours the solution into several smaller containers and hands them out to several children and adults. They each pick a tree and paint a bright blue swirl on the trunk.
It's all part of a unique approach to halting pipeline construction on her land.
'We have to yell and scream and push for it'
A natural gas pipeline is scheduled for construction on her land and she wants to stop it. A relative sent her a link about a "tree painting party" in the U.S. In that case, U.S. artist Aviva Rahmani painted trees in New York state.
Rahmani's campaign became the focus of a mock trial Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. The judge in that mock trial granted a temporary injunction on the pipeline expansion and ordered the parties to negotiate.
von Graevenitz contacted Rahmani about her concept of the "Blued Trees Symphony" to preserve natural ecosystems.
von Graevenitz said she hopes the copyright laws protecting unique works of art will trump the eminent domain or expropriation laws which typically make way for pipelines and other projects. She said the painted trees on her land are part of an international art project. Saving the trees and stopping the pipeline is her "duty" to the generations before and after her, she said.
von Graevenitz said she hopes a lawyer will take their case and test the laws in Saskatchewan.
"If we want something, we have to yell and scream and push for it or it doesn't happen," she said.
von Graevenitz said painting parts of the roots, bark and leaves is a way of "symbolizing the continuity between biosystems in the earth, to the sky. It's all linked together."