Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Behind the Art - Inheritance

Today I want to share the journey of a small series of works, one of which is soon to be installed in an exhibit called Great and North at the Palazzo Loredan in Venice Italy from August 29 to October 29, 2017. The beginnings of this work are more humble than where it has ended up but that is the magic of putting yourself out there and taking chances.  You never know where those risks can get you.

This is the original photo of my maternal great grandmother on her wedding day.  I love this photo for its nostalgia but also because of Alice Rogers' story.  She came to Canada from England after training as a baby nurse. Her desire to come here was based on the chance to rise above the class system of English culture that would keep her "in her place." She was coming to join two of her sisters who had already made the trip. It was a leap into the great unknown. It was a difficult sea crossing, it was the early 1900's. Her sole contact with her family back home was letters.  No Facetime like I have the luxury of now. I believe that she, and all my ancestors that braved moving to a new land, had adventurous hearts. Something compels you to move.  To explore, to go. That is not an easy impulse to follow. It is often frightening and lonely but you go because if you stayed it would not be true to who you are or who you could become. Alice met a lovely English bloke named Stephen Adams and they married and birthed two lovely girls.  One of whom is my grandmother Margaret now in her 90's. I did not have the privilege to meet Alice but I feel that she passed something down to me through her DNA. 

I made a series of works featuring fabric that I designed based on this photo of Alice and two of my other grandparents. 
This is Alice I, that was displayed at the Richmond Art Gallery and swapped in a Mail Art exhibition.

This is Alice II, a smaller version with lace and bead embellishments.

And this is Inheritance: Adventurous Heart, that is now part of the Imago Mundi collection and featured in the art book Oh West Canada!

Using the same imagery several times was an exploration of ways to bring out her character and story and relate it to my own. I feel a connection to her despite never having met her in person. It is a great honour to carry her story and those of other family members forward in this time. I am grateful for the legacy that they have passed on to me. And I think most of us can feel the impact of our ancestors if we listen closely enough.

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