Canary In the Coal Mine: an exhibition by Zea Mays Printmaking

Hosmer Gallery at Forbes Library, 20 West St., Northampton (20 West St, Northampton MA 01060)


Did you know that North America has lost 30% of its bird species since the 1970s?  That 2/3 of North American Birds face extinction from rising global temperatures?  We called on printmakers to promote awareness of the vast numbers of avian species that face eradication due to climate change.

Artists from all over North America were invited to participate by selecting a bird from The Audubon Society’s list of 389 bird species currently threatened with extinction and to create an edition of prints using an upcycled printing plate. The goal is to create a visual reminder of the birds we will lose if action is not taken on climate change, and to celebrate this one facet of our planet’s biodiversity. Our hope is that by re-using printing plates we lessen the impact our art making has on the earth’s resources.

Canary in the Coal Mine is also a fundraiser with proceeds shared between the Mass Audubon Arcadia Sanctuary, the National Audubon Society and Zea Mays Printmaking’s Technical Research Program, which investigates, tests and shares information about safer and more environmentally sustainable printmaking practices with an international art community via the Zea Mays Printmaking Online School. Prints can be purchased at canary in the coal mine gallery.

Zea Mays Printmaking is a professional printmaking studio, located in western Massachusetts. Since its founding in 2000, ZMP’s mission has been to provide a space and community to learn, create and promote prints made with the safest processes available. Zea Mays Printmaking collaborates with artists, studios and schools around the world to share innovations in non-toxic and sustainable printmaking. Canary in the Coal Mine is a part of the ongoing multimedia, multi-venue project Extraction: Art on the Edge of the Abyss, a cross-border art intervention which seeks to provoke societal change by exposing and interrogating the negative social and environmental consequences of industrialized natural resource extraction.