Lisa Klapstock claims her new art exhibit VOTE isn't targeted at ousting Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, but the displays speak for themselves.
"My Prime Minister Embarrasses Me" is the slogan on one tote bag, while a red T-shirt that says "Stop Harper," inspired by former senate page Brigette DePape, hangs prominently in the all-white gallery. Painted block letters on the wall spell out the message "Oh Canada, I miss you. It's been 9 years but to me it feels like an eternity. Please come back. Xo."
Klapstock, a Toronto-based artist who owns a space on Dundas St. West, told VICE she threw the exhibit together last minute, putting out the call to artists across Canada. Part of an umbrella project, "Something to think about," its purpose is to get people to vote, she said.
"The main goal was to inspire people to participate because that's something that I think the current government is trying to limit."
Almost every piece carries an anti-Conservative sentiment. Klapstock's own contribution—essentially a wall covered in strips of black duct tape—is meant to mimic a redacted government document about the Northern Gateway pipeline project.
"I am very concerned about the environment because it affects all of us… I feel that the pro-oil agenda of the current government is unbalanced and short-sighted."
Pascal Paquette, creator of the aforementioned tote bag, said that as a Christian, Harper has a "restrictive perspective."
"I think this is a government that has tunnel vision. It doesn't make sense. It's weird. We should have someone who is incredibly open."
Come October 19, Klapstock wants to see a coalition government form between the NDP, Liberals, and the Green Party. Mostly, she's hoping Canadians will be able to embrace the motto adorning one of the walls in her gallery: "Fuck the past. Live in the present. Plan for the future."
VOTE is on display until October 18 at 1518 Dundas St. West in Toronto.
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