A Squamish artist has his artwork currently on display at COP15 of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.
Mathias Horne’s art exhibit has been on display inside the Montreal Convention Centre in Quebec since Dec. 7 and it will be there until Dec. 19. The overarching goal of the exhibition is to serve as a reminder to government officials to finish and ratify the United Nations High Seas Treaty.
While negotiations about the treaty aren’t currently ongoing at the COP15 convention, the display serves as a reminder.
“The importance of COP15 and the inclusion of all the artwork is to really be a reminder, a visual reminder, of the importance of the high seas,” said Horne. “One of the main kind of priorities within COP15 is really to have that reminder of the ocean in the room and to have 30% of the ocean protected by 2030.”
There are seven portraits at the entrance to the convention centre and each depicts a sea creature from one of the areas Horne hopes get protected: the leatherback sea turtle, dumbo octopus, Juan Fernandez fur seal, pygmy blue whale, Laysan albatross, smooth lantern shark, and lined seahorse.
Horne said the inclusion of the artwork at the convention came about last minute.
“Working with NGOs and non-profits, a lot of things kind of happen quite quickly, so you have to be prepared,” he said.
Nonetheless, he was ready to assist when asked.
“Any opportunity that my art can act as a catalyst for the campaign, I'm happy to help.”
This display comes on the heels of Horne recently exhibiting the display at the United Nations headquarters in New York City where discussions were occurring about the treaty. Horne was introduced to this project through partnerships with Oceans North and High Seas Alliance.
They’ve also teamed up with Sea Blue Canada for the Montreal display.
Although Horne is not currently in Montreal, he said he’s received positive feedback about the display.
“I've gotten quite a few updates on the daily of how people are interacting with the artwork and it seems like it's drawing quite a crowd of government delegates [and] general public,” he said.
In February 2023, Horne said the artwork will come much closer to home as it is set to be displayed at the IMPAC5 event in Vancouver.
Horne has previously said that growing up in Squamish makes caring for the ocean come naturally to him.
“Growing up here, I was always inspired by the ocean. And it's something that plays such a vital role in our climate here. And we have such a vast example of biodiversity that you can see here. So I think that's inspiration," he said in a September interview with The Squamish Chief.