Oils used as part of off-shore drilling protest

''Oil on Canvas'' co-ordinator Ted Whitaker prepares to hang The Adventures of Sydney Penguin...
''Oil on Canvas'' co-ordinator Ted Whitaker prepares to hang The Adventures of Sydney Penguin original cover illustration, by Port Chalmers artist David Elliot, in the Dunedin Community Gallery yesterday. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
Oil paintings will help launch an anti-oil exploration protest in Dunedin today.

''Oil on Canvas'' is a group exhibition by more than 30 artists, including Marilynn Webb, Simon Kaan and Mary McFarlane, protesting deep-sea oil and gas exploration off the Otago coast.

The show Dunedin Community Gallery marks the opening of this weekend's Oil Free Future Summit in the city, which will feature a symbolic blockade of Otago Harbour.

The summit was organised to highlight possible environment and economic risks posed by United States oil company Anadarko's deep-sea oil drilling programme off the Otago coast.

''The artists approached us about doing this exhibition, because they wanted a forum to express their concerns about the oil drilling,'' Oil Free Otago spokeswoman Niamh O'Flynn said yesterday.

''This action will show Anadarko that even when they drill at the bottom of the country, in the bottom of the world, people from around New Zealand will stand up against them.''

A range of events would be held over the weekend to encourage people to join the protest, Ms O'Flynn said.

Green Party energy spokesman Gareth Hughes will launch the ''Anadarko - Wish You Weren't Here'' campaign at St Clair Beach at 1pm today and speak at the summit at 3pm tomorrow at Age Concern, in Bath St.

A ''Hands Off Our Harbour'' symbolic blockade of the harbour's commercial shipping channel will be held at noon on Sunday, off Back Beach.

The All Saints Anglican Church will also hold a 10.30am service on Sunday, addressing the moral implications of the exploration project.


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