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Banned on the Hill: A True Story about Dirty Oil and Government Censorship Paperback – May 13, 2013
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
James used her art to turn the information she gleaned from the government into a book, *Banned on the Hill: A True Story about Dirty Oil and Government Censorship*. But the story doesn’t end there and James is continuing to use art to get back at the government and to advocate for the environment. “I’m really trying to tell basic truths,” she said. James is now experimenting with those messages: will the government pay more attention if Stephen Harper, re-imagined as an oil barrel with the words “Canada is the dirty old man” above him,” is steps away from Capitol Hill instead of Parliament Hill?
RABBLE: Franke James: Artist and activist extraordinaire! - By Christopher Majka
Franke James is a Canadian political and artistic phenomenon. A wicked thorn in the side of Stephen Harper; a woman fiercely passionate about the pressing need to address climate change; a witty and imaginative artist who would not acquiesce to having her work silenced and censored by the Harper government…
GRIST MAGAZINE: Artful Dodger: How one anti-Keystone activist fought the blacklist – By Claire Thompson
Canadian artist Franke James knows how to convey gloomy information without being a downer. She takes a relentlessly cheerful, self-deprecating approach to issues too often screamed about by scolds and trolls. (It’s an approach we here at Grist admire.) Her illustrated essays call out individuals, corporations, and governments for their inadequate responses to environmental threats, but in an unfailingly good-natured way more likely to make you grin than grimace. Though her art reaches a wide audience, James is no subversive revolutionary...
DOGWOOD: Blacklisted Activist Fights Back With Chilling Censorship Story - By Lyndsey Easton
James new book, Banned on the Hill: a True Story about Dirty Oil and Government Censorship, consists of eight visual essays that tell the incredible journey she’s been on from 2008 to 2013 and helps raise awareness about how the Harper government is silencing environmental voices.
VANCOUVER OBSERVER: Deep pocket PR vs. artist Franke James: the fight’s on - By Andrea Bennett
‘the stuff of legend’… The attempt to silence Franke James has, instead, ensured that both her work and her message are recognized around the world.
TORONTO STAR: Climate activist gets even with new book - By Raveena Aulakh, Environment Reporter
“The artist’s work dealt mostly with climate change, and was advocating a message that was contrary to the government’s policies on the subject.”
It cannot be easy being the “artist,” the subject of this 2011 email by a Foreign Affairs and International Trade spokesman, especially when her “contrary” message apparently cost her federal funding for a European art tour.
Franke James, the artist in question, first got mad — now she is getting even.
James, a Toronto-based activist with no shortage of gumption and political acumen, has turned the federal government’s efforts to silence her into a new book.
*Banned on the Hill: A True Story about Dirty Oil and Government Censorship* was released last week and tells the story of how Canadian bureaucrats withdrew support for James because her views on climate change didn’t match those held by the Harper government.
She has used access to information requests and visual essays to highlight how the Conservatives withdrew funding for the European art tour because, she writes, they didn’t like that she believes Canada is failing to act on climate change.
“As a Canadian citizen, to know that the government is interfering in private business is really shocking. It’s undemocratic,” said James. “If art has to agree with government policy, then art is government propaganda.”…
James hopes her book will also be a how-to guide for other activists. And she isn’t done yet.
She started an Indiegogo campaign to crowd-source $5,000 to advertise her cause in the Hill Times, an Ottawa political weekly, and to launch an outdoor campaign Monday in the capital. She has raised $5,550 so far.
Her ad, which began appearing in the Hill Times last Monday, says: “Do not talk about climate change. It is against government policy.”
Visual essays by Franke James reveal how the ‘troublesome artist’ was targeted because her views on climate change clashed with the push to develop Alberta’s tar sands. Canada, under the government of Stephen Harper, has exhibited little patience for dissent. The government has muzzled government scientists, insulted Nasa climate experts, and dismissed environmental protesters as dangerous radicals. But there is apparently one woman whom the government can't shut up: theToronto environmental writer, illustrator and activist Franke James, who turned the efforts to silence her into material for a new book. Banned on the Hill: A True Story about Dirty Oil and Government Censorship, released this week, shows how Canadian bureaucrats tried to silence James because her views on climate change clashed with the Harper government's push to develop Alberta's tar sands. The story is told through visual essays as well as official emails obtained by James, in which government bureaucrats discuss the troublesome artist and her work. It also relies heavily on humour – some of it provided inadvertently by the government bureaucrats discussing what to do about James. "It became clear that they really do not like my art speaking about climate change and I was censored especially because I promoted policies that were different to theirs," she said… Unless there has been a major policy shift in the Harper government, the bureaucrats are unlikely to be done with James yet. Along with the book, she plans to take her campaign against the tar sands, and the Harper government's message control, on the road, putting up posters on street corners and bus shelters.
Top Customer Reviews
Not only does James express the sense of helplessness felt by so many Canadians fighting to protect treasured natural landscapes and resources, she also exposes the Harper Government's flagrant censorship of public employees (elected Ministers included) and publicly funded scientists, along with apparently one of Canada's most obvious national security threats: artists.
Where words fail, James' art fills in the emotion and visceral sense of the current identity shift in what it means to be Canadian under Harper's Conservatives. Canada's reputation as a world leader in clean air and water is giving way to a reputation of a nation that trades clean water for dirty oil and blacklists anyone who objects.
On behalf of Canadians left speechless by the Harper Government, Franke James says it all, despite being Banned on the Hill.
Access-to-information stories and censored documents about environmental problems usually make for dry reading, so it's particularly surprising to see Franke James shine a bright, entertaining light on both issues. This is what happens when an emboldened government attempts to silence the very people who are most adept at reaching large segments of the population. Just like the daring artists who eventually spelled the downfall of McCarthyism in the 1950s, Franke James will most likely inspire a long line of like-minded creators to speak up in the 2010s.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In 2011, Franke James was in the middle of planning for a solo 20-city tour art show and an introduction to a new international audience. Read morePublished on April 6, 2014 by Detong Choyin
Have you ever wanted to do something about an injustice, but were afraid to stand up and speak out? Then this book, Banned on the Hill, will give you the inspiration and courage... Read morePublished on September 12, 2013 by P. Okerlund
This book is actually a collection of visual essays. What's a visual essay, you ask? It's a combination of images captioned with text and some rebus-style writing. Read morePublished on June 6, 2013 by Erich Jacoby-hawkins