After a summer scarred by wildfires across Europe and North America, accompanied by record temperatures and floods in countries across the globe, Firstsite’s presentation of Cansick’s exhibition is especially poignant. Featuring over 40 artworks, it is the culmination of a project the Norfolk-based artist began in 2022, intending to chart climate change-related weather events.

“The objective was to record an entire year of (TV news and social media) reports, effectively freeze-framing the fleeting images we are fed through various media, allowing time for appropriate reflection of their serious nature and then collectively observing the entire picture of climate change over 12 months,” Claire explains.

This exhibition is showing the entire collection of paintings in chronological order, with patterns of weather moving sequentially across the artworks. In so doing, an emerging repetition and rhythm becomes apparent.

“In exhibiting all the work in this way, I feel there will be a power in the magnitude of climate change, which will resonate with the viewer,” Cansick says. “I hope that a clear realisation and urgency to act will emerge as people see the sheer spread of locations, with rich and poor countries being united in the issues.”

Revealing the meaning of the exhibition’s title, You and I are Earth, Claire says: “It comes from an inscribed plate dated 1661, found in a London sewer and now exhibited in the Wellcome Collection. It explains, in one perfectly formed phrase, our connectivity to nature, how it isn’t there to serve us, and that by ignoring its messages, we are effectively harming ourselves. The title succinctly conveys the overall meaning and purpose of my paintings and the aim of this project.”

You and I Are Earth demonstrates the true value of art, highlighting a critical issue and prompting us to consider our own impact and the creative solutions we can build together to create a better future for ourselves and our planet.


Find out more about You and I are Earth


About Claire Cansick

Claire Cansick is an oil painter living and working in Norfolk, the county of her birth and where she grew up. Cansick’s work is inspired by her immediate surroundings, poignant memories and current affairs, including climate change. Renowned for using a palette of four recessive (rather than dominant) colours, to explore and create mood and ambience, she works from photos and drawings as source material. After graduating from Great Yarmouth School of Art and Norwich University of the Arts with a BA in Printmaking, Cansick forged her reputation as a (self-taught) oil painter. Claire has also run art galleries, and exhibited widely throughout the UK. Her exhibition at Firstsite is her first in a public institution. In 2017, she was invited to become a member of The Arborealists, a group of contemporary artists inspired by trees, forests and woods.