'HONOURING THE ANCESTORS'
iTen years ago I was selected to paint a utility box on Main Street and, even though it has weathered many hail storms, the colours have begun to fade, particularly on the south and east sides, so I was asked by the City to refresh it. I'm so glad as I have been thinking of it in any case as reds, oranges and pinks don't last as well in the sun, but I am so grateful that it has lasted so well. So, I headed back to Home Hardware in my community as they have always been so supportive of arts and culture and we planned the refresh. Also very thankful for the support of the City of Airdrie in these public art projects.
In my initial proposal, I discussed my history of growing up in northern Manitoba as I was enamoured of the works of the Woodlands Artists and was exposed to my first exhibit of works by Benjamin Chee Chee. With my classmates, I visited an archeological site near rapids on Churchill River, the ones after which my community, Leaf Rapids, was named. At the age of seventeen my family moved to Alberta where I was exposed to the prairies and the Rocky Mountains, both which I have the privilege of viewing outside my living room window. This work is a reference to the history of the area including both animals and arrowheads, also referencing Nose Creek which has been a vital part of the community; each is filled with the images, colors and symbols of my memory. Utilizing layers of abstract mark-making and vibrant color along with recognizable images, these pieces represent my experience of living here.
I decided to add 16 swallows that wrapped around the entire image as the number 16 reflects new beginnings while swallows in many Indigenous communities represent good luck, in folktales they symbolize humility, in Greek & Roman mythology they are connected to divinity & grace, and in traditional sailor's lore swallows were representative of loyalty & hope. All the things I want for my community.
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