A Fourth Net for Ukraine
in collaboration with the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI) at CANSEC 2023
The Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI)'s President and CEO, Christyn Cianfarani and her Communications Manager, Monique Scotti experienced Wiebe's installation Cover & Conceal: A Gift To Ukraine at the Halifax International Security Forum (HISF) in November 2022. These three nets made it to a Ukrainian military unit fighting just north of Bakhmut in March 2023. Moved by the initiative they invited Wiebe to Ottawa to make a fourth camouflage net for Ukraine with the delegates presenting and attending at CANSEC 2023. Together, they completed a 14 ft x 50 ft camouflage net.
CANSEC showcases leading-edge technology, products and services for land-based, naval, aerospace and joint forces military units. This two-day event is the largest and most important defence industry trade show in Canada. This net will soon be sent to Ukraine to provide concealment for Ukrainians fighting on the frontlines. Art for protection.
From key prime contractors to supply chain representatives, CANSEC draws experts from all parts of the industry. CADSI creates a massive space to network and engage with a captive audience of senior military and government representatives, international delegations and industry decision-makers; from top-level ministers and CAF leadership to innovation and thought leaders, important ideas and forward-thinking insights are shared.
A large part of Wiebe's practice is bridging the gap between military experience and civilian understanding of that experience through interdisciplinary means and community-based projects. At CANSEC she recognized the large gap between industry and the public. This was especially evident as she heard the protests on the first morning of CANSEC blocking the entrance to the parking lot for delegates to enter. Later she read through posts on Twitter written by the protesters. One Tweet read congratulating protesters on doing a great job to disrupt the largest arms show in North America. Immediately Wiebe saw the disconnect as this was not true. CANSEC is the largest security and defence industry show in Canada with maybe 2-3% being arms. Many of the industries that present at CANSEC are not specific to the military. While Wiebe believes it is important to be critical of the military industrial complex, she acknowledges how everything in the world is interconnected and that it is also important to understand how defence and security industries overlap with humanitarian aid and other very human needs of safety and security. This is an area that Wiebe will explore more deeply in future work.
Thank you CADSI for this incredible opportunity to make and send another net to Ukraine and for introducing me to experts from all parts of the industry, tech, and for creating a space for dialogue that leads to new ideas and collaboration!
Thank you to all who contributed to and supported Cover and Conceal: A Gift to Ukraine and this fourth net!