Last month I wrapped my first curated exhibition. One that I fell into a couple months ago. The wonders that can happen with a simple call out. It comes to no surprise that my first exhibition was completely drenched in the Canadian style of landscape. It is after all, what shaped our White-Male-Centered-Identity. “Rolls around laughing”
I will admit, I love the way this exhibited happened. I reached out into the community and I caught Tom Davis. A local small business owner from Canmore who paints everyday and loves to eat a good cheesecake. Not joking. The man wrote a book on the subject. He did after all own many of our local restaurants in Alberta. Retired restauranteur turned painter, plays with colour and subject matter. I just love it. It had to be my first exhibition.
Tom Davis filled the Port Coworking Space with works of landscapes and people that he’s experienced in his lifetime. I well travelled gentleman, you could have seen landscapes of Greece to Alaska to Japan. They were indeed beautiful, filled with colour and pieces that definitely livened up a space. The pieces separate didn’t quite make any statement whatsoever but as soon as we started putting everything up, I realized that I could manipulate the pieces to speak about our cultural history and very present culture of people and land.
Cowboy and landscapes. I will be honest that my heart hurt as we put them up. But the frames went together so we went with that. When we first put together the space I couldn’t stop thinking about the Group of Seven and the impact they have had in our cultural identity. I’ve mention this in previous posts. The main point I wish to take away from that post is that people inhabiting the land when the Group of Seven were painting where completely erased from it. Giving the impression that the land was for the taking. It wasn’t. It still isn’t. We fast forward 150 years later and we are still seeing an old war: white man putting value in profits over the well-being of thousands of people: #NODAPL. Back to the walls of the Port, I had my chance to rearrange the conversation, bring back the people who were originally from the land in the land and insert them into the conversation. As the days grew, I made a change. I removed the cowboys and exchange them for a piece that was originally in the meeting room called: the meeting. The space turned into this:
That small changed opened up the conversation. At least in my mind it did. Who’s land is it anyway? History has made it possible for us to forget and titles have made it impossible to give it back. It’s all complicated. And none of it is fair. But I hope that at least for the months that this exhibit was up, some of us had time to think about it. At least I did.
Let me know if you’re enjoying these blog posts that are not necessary about beauty but about the beauty and challenges of life. Have you been following the days of the Girls night out challenge? Start on day one here. Want to read about skincare? Check out the post that talks about cleansers. Thanks for stopping by!