Yvette’s first London exhibition: FACING THREAT at Maestro Arts draws on her experiences from a trip to Tar Sands, Alberta in Canada. As she says, “The desecration of the ancient boreal forest, lands of the Cree First Nations, is catastrophic. The pollution of ancient hunting grounds and rivers is driven by the grotesque search for profits from dirty oil". The Beaver Lake Cree’s legal and political fight to reclaim and develop their threatened lands along with many indigenous people throughout the world is the subject of FACING THREAT.
Yvette is motivated by a strong political commitment to tackling injustice, by exploring and exposing exploitation and inequality and then endeavouring to communicate these abuses, and positive ways to overcome them, through her work.
Maestro Arts Facing Threat exhibition visitor comments:
“Great place and wonderful exhibition”
“You pay tribute to all those who fight tirelessly for peoples’ rights across the globe. We all need to be reminded else we go about our lives oblivious or at least in denial. Very emotive”
“Very bold, strong, colourful, full of impact – faces I’d like to live with...”
“Very expressive characters”
“They are beautiful”
“I like to think when I look...and I thought a lot...thank you”
Click images below to enlarge view
Beaver Lake Cree Nation paintings made from photos taken by YV at the Pow Wow dancing competition, Alberta, 2011
The Third Age
Jan 2013: 120 million retired people live in the EU; about 24% of the population. The number of people over the age of 60 is increasing by two million each year - twice as high as it was ten years ago. Currently, EU governments spend 10% of their gross domestic product on pensions, and the sum is rising...many people are active into their nineties, but many face social exclusion once they retire and poverty is increasing; rates are now between 20 – 27%. European Commission
War, Genocide & Persecution
In 2011 there were 37 ongoing armed conflicts. However in 1991 alone, 19 peace agreements were concluded, well above the total number of agreements signed between 1975 and 1988. States in Armed Conflict 2011 reports that since 2008 the signing of peace agreements has become an increasingly rare phenomenon, while the number of armed conflicts has increased. Uppsala Armed Conflict Data
Chechen 2011 51 x 41.5 £275
More than a decade of bitter conflict due to two separatist wars in the 1990’s, devastated the republic of Chechnya at the hands of the Russian authorities. Now the puppet leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, under the guise of a massive regeneration programme, funded by Putin, has built gleaming tower blocks and elegant boulevards replacing the war torn streets of Grozny. But this only disguises a sinister regime which is hugely repressive, with many ‘disappearances’ and collective punishment. Human Rights Watch
Palestinian 2013 40 x 40 sold
Israel is an apartheid state which has violated more UN resolutions than any other state in relation to Palestine. In every respect, economic, physical, environmental and psychological, destruction has rained down on Gaza & the West Bank (OPT) for more than 60 years. The building of the apartheid wall and use of banned weapons like white phosperous; the demolition of homes & ancient olive groves; the diversion of water and systematic land grabs for illegal settlements amounts to slow genocide. Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RTP)
Self Determination 2013 35.5 x 25.5 sold
2004 The judgement of 14 judges at the International Court of Justice in The Hague said that the apartheid wall was unlawful because it violated the right to self determination by the division of communities and the construction of settlements. It concluded that all nations have a responsibility to bring about an end to the situation.
April 2012 Following submissions by Michael Mansfield on behalf of RTP & other NGO’s, the UN Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination (CERD) declared Israel to be an Apartheid state.
Nov 2012 The UN approved 'nonmember observer status to Palestine. The Palestinians can now take part in UN debates and apply to join bodies like the International Criminal Court. The resolution was approved 138-9. The US Canada & Israel were amongst those who voted against. The UK & Germany abstained. In 2014 the Israelis brutally attacked Gaza again and thousands of Palestinians, mainly civilians and many chldren were killed. The world stood by and did nothing.
Gay Front 2013 40 x 40 £250 sold
2012 Russian female punk trio Pussy Riot, were jailed for 2 years for hooliganism after staging an unauthorized concert/protest at Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. 2103 Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and (freed) Yekaterina Samutsevich are now challenging their sentences for violating their rights to freedom of expression, a fair trial and not being treated with dignity. ECHR
Refugee 2009 61 x 51 £300
Social disintegration, negative social selection and chronic dependency face elderly refugees. Their plight is particularly tragic as often they have nowhere to go and no one to take care of them. Their experience of exile can be compounded by poverty and destitution, where dramatic social and economic change in asylum countries has caused a marked decline in the living standards of all residents. UNHCR A fifth of women refugees accessing therapeutic services faced violence since arriving in the UK. Refugee Council
Berbers 2009 40 x 40 £250
Berbers call themselves Imazighen, meaning noble or free born and make up 25% of the Algerian population. Algeria is the 10th largest country on earth. Over 25% of Algerians are under 15 and 21% of 15 - 24 years are unemployed. However for 2010 – 2014, the Government has pledged $286 billion public investment of which 40% will go to human development. Woman in Algeria make up 70% of lawyers and 60% of judges. In the UK 22% of professional judges are female! Minority Rights Group International
Sudanese 2009 40 x 40 £250
Dec 2012 There is mounting evidence of the government of Sudan’s widespread campaign of violence against the Nuban people of South Kordofan and the Blue Nile. Satellite imagery shows that from November 17-27, at least 26 Nuban villages, as well as food crops and grasslands for cattle grazing, across 140 square kilometres, were systematically destroyed. Scorched earth warfare can constitute a crime against humanity. Satellite Sentinel Project
Nomad 2013 40 x 40 £250
With more than 500 tribal communities, India is estimated to have a nomadic population of at least 70 million (7-10% of the population). These communities include hunter gatherers, pastoralists and the peripatetic or non-food producing groups. The latter is the most neglected and discriminated social group in India with no constitutional safeguards. They have lost their livelihood niche because of drastic changes in transport, industries, food production, entertainment and distribution systems. For many years UNESCO has supported literacy programmes for groups of nomads.
Fulani 2009 40 x 40 £250
As many as 18 million Fulani people stretch across the countries of West Africa; the largest concentrations are in Nigeria, Senegal and Guinea. Fulani is the largest group of nomadic people in the world and 99% are Muslim. Life can be extremely harsh. They often live in small, temporary camps. These can be quickly dismantled as they move in search of pasture and water for their herds. In Nigeria for decades the Christian Berom farmers have complained of the destructive presence of cattle on their land and resorted to stealing or killing the herds, often at the cost of the lives of the Fulani boys who tend the herds. The Fulani responded to these overtures of violence with equal or greater brutality. By 2011 the herdsmen had lost about eight million head of cattle; the Fulani say "the race is facing extinction." aljazeera.com
Iranian 2012 45.5 x 35.5 sold
Iranian women, (unlike in Saudi Arabia, where women are not allowed to drive, go to university or until 2013 hold public office), not only drive personal vehicles, some drive taxis. In Tehran, there is a unique professional fire company composed entirely of women, who wear hijabs under helmets while responding to fire calls. Women hold public office, and until now made up 65 percent of all university students. Iran had the highest ratio of female to male undergraduates in the world. 2013: 36 universities announced that 77 BA and BSc courses in the coming academic year will be "single gender" and exclusive to men. UNESCO
Men hold sway under Sharia law, which can be extremely harsh but women on the streets and their parliamentarians are continuing to resist. February 2013: UN Special Rapporteurs called on Iran to immediately release two leading opposition figures and their family members who remain under house arrest and to release hundreds of other prisoners of conscience detained for “peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of opinion and expression, or freedom of association and assembly,” especially as the country heads towards elections in June. United Nations
Armenian 2012 45.5 x 35.5
Between 1915 and 1917 the systematic killing of Armenians by the Ottoman authorities was "more than a million." Armenia and the Armenian diaspora have been campaigning for official recognition of the events as genocide for over 30 years. International Association of Genocide Scholars Armenia claims to be a unitary, multi-party, democratic nation-state with an ancient cultural heritage. However, the regime is increasingly authoritarian, corrupt and inefficient. In 2010, according to official statistics, 35.8 percent of Armenia’s population was living below the poverty line. 2012: It is estimated that one-third of Armenia’s population has emigrated since Armenia’s independence in 1991. European Commission
Since the meltdown of capitalist institutions and banks in 2008, the world has been engulfed by uncertainty and austerity. Some are even questioning the wisdom of globalised finance. The sudden dearth of foreign-bank lending and the flight of hedge funds and other investors from bond markets has slammed the brakes on credit growth. And just as booming credit once underpinned strong domestic spending, so tighter credit has resulted in nil growth or triple dip recession. Economist
The underlying assumption of current economic & political thinking is that growth is necessary – wrong! Sustainability is the key and the situation presents great opportunities for a new way of organising our economies and societies for the benefit of people, not profit. YV
Greek 2012 45.5 x 35.5 £275
Feb 2013: Greece is currently in the centre of a humanitarian crisis, Médecins du Monde, the largest and most prominent NGO in Greece has declared. In 2008 the UN Human Development Index ranked Greece 18th in the world. Now everything has changed. Unemployment has hit a record 27% and the economy shrank 6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012. The country’s recession, now in a sixth year, isn’t recovering, and it is still $460 billion in debt. A large proportion of Greek households currently live in conditions of "material deprivation". Over 11% actually live in "extreme material deprivation" without enough heating, having a poor diet as well as total or partial inability to meet emergency expenses or payments for rent and bills. 40,000 are homeless; there is an explosive growth in soup kitchens, general food distribution and limited access to medical care. The EU & Greek Government are keeping quiet about the humanitarian crisis as their bailout plan has blatantly failed. Guardian
Gold Miner 2013 40 x 40 £300
2013 In the Manica District of Mozambique, more than 10,000 people are directly and indirectly involved in artisanal (small-scale) gold mining activities as their main source of income. Most garimpeiros use mercury to extract gold from the mineral ore; the amalgation process recovers very little of that mercury, which pollutes the nearby environment - waterways and soil as well as threatening the livelihood of plant and animal species. This process results in the discharge of an estimated 1000 tons of mercury per annum, representing about 30 percent of the world’s mercury releases. Methylmercury is one of the most toxic organic compounds and a powerful neurotoxin that works its way up the food chain. As much as 95 percent of all mercury used in small-scale gold mining is released into the environment, constituting a danger on all fronts—economic, environmental and to human health. Mercury retort technologies can help miners overcome these health hazards by effectively trapping mercury during blow-torching of amalgam and preventing the toxic substance from spreading into the air, thus reducing the risk of exposure to mercury vapour and, consequently, recovering the trapped mercury for reuse on the succeeding amalgamation with gold. It is estimated that over 13 million people work as artisanal miners worldwide. Ban Mercury Group
Mongolian 2013 50 x 40 sold
January 2013: The Mongolian Business Council sent a letter to the Government in Ulan Bator re the proposed new mining law - which will mandate that Mongolian citizens must hold a 34 per cent stake in all projects and gives state-owned entities a pre-emptive right to any mining or exploration licences for sale. The BC said the law "threatens to shut down the entire minerals industry in Mongolia” and would halt all exploration and mine development, discouraging future foreign investment in a country that gains 90 per cent of export revenues from mining. But the Mongolian miners and communities intend to stand firm. business-mongolia.com
Children in Need
Poverty The UN High Level Panel on Post 2015 Development is tasked with creating a framework for global development after the current Millennium Development Goals expire in two years’ time. It could end extreme poverty in the next 20 years and help to prevent 3.5 million child deaths per year by 2030. In the last decade huge strides have already have been made. Overall rates of progress in child well-being (& health) have almost doubled from 11% to 23% and primary school enrolment is even more impressive moving from 14% to 32%. However, under nutrition has consistently lagged behind and remains one of the major reasons depressing further progress on child well-being. Save the Children
Beg 2012 35.5 x 25.5 sold
Neglect:Exceptionally vulnerable children not only negotiate significant challenges in their family homes, they also face immense threat within their neighbourhoods. Often they are exposed to relentless violence, some are forced into working as drug couriers or prostitutes, and many experience chronic abuse. Kids Company
Homelessness:100,000 children under 16 become runaways in the UK each year, due mainly to violence, abuse, family breakdown or bullying. 30% are under 12 and 18,000 will end up sleeping rough. Railway Children
Weep 2012 35.5 x 25.5 £200
Bullying: The ongoing difficult economic climate, the impact of the misuse of social networking sites, the continuing growth of cyber bullying as well as the grooming of young people by online predators are only some of the challenges that children have to overcome. Kidscape
Shout 2012 35.5 x 25.5 £200
Abuse: In 2010/11, ChildLine counsellors dealt with nearly 670,000 contacts from children about a range of problems including, bullying, sex abuse, violence and mental health issues. On average, every week in England and Wales at least one child is killed at the hands of another person. NSPCC
Cry 2010 35.5 x 25.5 Sold
There were 0.8 million children with disabilities in the UK in 2010/11. This constitutes 6% of the total child population. But there is a crisis in social care support – with an estimated £1.2 billion hole in funding. Almost 40% of disabled people report that their local support doesn’t meet basic needs such as help with eating, washing, dressing and leaving their homes. Scope
Hope for the Future...
In the 1990’s and 2000’s protracted and bloody wars such as those in Mozambique, Guatemala and Liberia were terminated through negotiations and ensuing accords. The Dayton Agreement ended the war in Bosnia in 1995 and the conflict in Northern Ireland was terminated with the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. The most recent major peace agreement was in Sudan in 2005. Now the trend of war is up and toward armed struggles within and across national boundaries. Witness the Arab Spring and the situation in Syria and Gaza. The international community has a responsibility to uphold international law and seek peaceful solutions to armed conflicts.
Truth and Reconciliation...it can be achieved...
I should like to pay tribute to all the countless independent journalists, photographers, charities and voluntary organisations who campaign tirelessly to fight environmental and economic catastrophe to bring hope, peace and justice, relief from fear, pain and poverty to millions of people across the globe. Above all to the people facing threat with dignity, for their powerful and passionate resistance and strength of purpose that will I believe bring positive change in the future.
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