Installation and Performance
Installation and Performance
France Trépanier artist and curator of Kanien’keha:ka and French ancestry, brought her ongoing collaborative project to the Comox Valley Art Gallery as part of their Fall exhibition offerings.
I was one of the group of local artists invited to make an offering in the show. I chose to honour my ancestors, people of the ancient neolithic whose ceremonies and traditions are held within the stones, tombs and circles of celtic landscapes in Europe. As part of my own practice as a Reclaiming witch, I offer pomegranate to the ancestors at Samhain, when the veils between the worlds are thin and we traditionally journey to visit our beloved dead. This performance evokes that practice and tradition. The veils were dyed and stitched by my own hands, and contain leaf skeletons and dried vegetable leather.
I stand on the threshold breathing into the sacred earth beneath my feet.
My heart opens, I reach out calling through the veils that separate this
world from the otherworlds. My blood and bones sense the presence of
the ancient ones whose lives and stories are the teachings guiding my life.
Wisdom offered to me through the breath of the wind, the fire of the sun,
the cool of the waters and the timeless stillness of the mountain.
This is the feast of Samhain and I bring my humble offering to honour my
ancestors. I am held in their presence as the pomegranate seeds drop from
my fingers running red with the juices of life. I feed them and I remember,
for what is remembered lives.
Threads of an Estuary
This body of work is in response to impressions and influences gleaned from my arts-based research practice on the K’ómoks estuary. I developed my awareness of the ephemeral presence of this place through observing, listening, sensing, interacting with beings human and beyond, community, culture and history.
Beginning the work, it was about finding a way of belonging to this land. Now the land has guided me to an understanding and appreciation of my role as a guest. Privileged, white settler living on the unceded traditional territory of the indigenous people of this land whom I know as the K’ómoks nation.
I am inspired by the slow stitching movement, environmental art, eco-dying and textile work moving beyond traditional ideas of quilting or tapestry into realms of fine art resonant with contemporary thinking and making.
I use only natural and biodegradable materials and found objects. Natural cottons of various weaves are hand-dyed with plants and seaweeds gathered from the estuary. Pine needles, reeds and stones are stitched with silk and cotton threads into the cloth to create a series of hanging pieces each of which was treated in direct contact with estuary waters and objects.
Inherent in my process is a heavy emphasis on handwork, evoking traditional ways of making from indigenous and settler cultures. In these times of change and haste, I am interested in re-invigorating ways of being that embrace fluidity of time, reflection and ease in my relationship to landscape and environment.
Slow, methodical, contemplative stitches create threads of connection embodying my sense of being in this place.
Sculptural Performance Installation
Comox Valley Art Gallery Fall 2014
In May 2014 I embarked on a long awaited journey up North back to the Yukon a place of attachment from my years there as a young woman. I had the intention to disentangle some old threads of connection to place and to weave new threads bringing current perspective to my memories.
My journey ended abruptly, before I was ready, when I fell and broke my elbow.
This performance, accompanied by the sound track of the blog from my journey, was a space for me to disentangle and reform my sculpture/installation, while continuing the personal disentangling from my interrupted journey.
Presencing the Past
Photo-Image Installation with storytelling
In early 2015 I installed this show at two local gallery/cafés in my home town of Courtenay situated in the beautiful Comox Valley, Vancouver Island BC. In each case I presented storytelling performances with the show, braiding the imagery with the tales of my journey North.
The images all taken on my summer 2014 journey North to the Yukon express long held feelings about the connection between these places and myself. I performed with the images telling stories of the people and places past and present who were the subjects of the show.
Each image holds threads of memory stretched over twenty-nine years of absence.
Presencing the past that still held me in the illusion that the North was where I belonged, every image holds shadows that led me from the sticky cords of nostalgia, into the clear threads of true memory.
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