EL ULTIMO NEVADO by jean pronovost
This imaginative and surreal painting was inspired by the painter’s time in Bolivia and carries with it a powerful environmental message. The dominance of shades of grey, employed in the depiction of heavy clouds and thick smoke, convey a sinister and suffocating feeling. This place isn’t safe to breathe, drink, or eat. The pops of bright and vivid colours create a dramatic contrast that draws our attention to important warnings and signs that our world is in trouble. The current industrial path pollutes, corrupts and destroys nature and humans alike in the third world, and all of this to profit us in the developed world. Precious metals and stones are treated as more valuable than life itself.
In the background we see a bright brown and copper mountain, the colour reflects its mineral richness – silver, zinc, lead, tungsten, gold, lithium, and iron, just to name a few. Once a majestic and sacred symbol, it is now degraded by mining operations that strip it of its contents, natural beauty, and integrity. At the same time, the people of this land are corrupted, and their resources are polluted. This is represented in the painting with the industrial building in the center that is unleashing a mass of toxic smoke into the air and along the water. To the left of this mining plant is a stone that resembles a skull, further symbolizing the menacing nature of this industry.
At the bottom, there is a two-headed llama standing on a patch of ground that is hazardous: the grass is turning yellow and unhealthy, and there is a sulphuric smoke rising from its edges. This beautiful, harmless animal, which is sacred to the Andean people, is now genetically mutated and deformed because of our greed and carelessness. But we must remember that nature is strong and clever; it will find a way to survive and thrive with two heads, or four eyes, or tentacles, or whatever other ghastly features our chemicals cause to grow. To the right is an angry and vengeful Moche god with an arthropod body – that of a ribbon shrimp. This ancient god is disgusted to see how we have deformed and destroyed our world: animals and mountains his people once celebrated spiritually are devalued, and the water, air, and land are poisoned. Behind the Moche god is a gigantic, beautiful pink-coloured sea anemone (i.e., subcoral elegans) that resembles a supernatural or mythical monster. Like the llama, it too has mutated because of the pollution in the environment. But in addition to its behemoth body, it has morphed into a time-space gateway that has brought the Moche god to our time. He’s traveled 2000 – 3000 years to warn us about our path of polluted peril and what that future holds. It’s a long-distance call telling us to wake up before the two-headed llama army rises up and takes over.