What speaks to our souls, what makes living along the water extraordinary?

 

“If the rivers of Canada can be described as the veins of our existence, then would not the heart of the Canadian  natural system be the great sweetwater inland seas, known as the Great Lakes?  How is that heart doing?”

 

As an emerging artist particularly in Ontario, I feel my roots along this province’s waterways more strongly then ever.  Though raised along the shores of the Great Lake Basin, I have had very little perspective of how important these lakes are to our understanding of our place in the world.  Geographically, these Great Lakes not only live up to the “greatness” of their name in Canadian terms, but also are impressive on an international scale. They contain about 21 percent of the world's supply of fresh water.

 

Long before my intellectual understanding of this though, I knew how wrapped up our identity as Canadians, particularly my identity as an artist, was determined by the early work our country’s landscape artists. Even as we seem to be entering a new ecologically aware time, this was forced upon us because we refused to see the inherent value of the lakes until it began to reflect negatively upon the outcomes of our relationship with nature and our pocket books. Being ecologically directed from the stand point of correcting problems only to increase the outcomes in our favor, may never solve the problem long term.

 

Perhaps the artist will be able to open another path to gaining a new way to make that necssary shift in perspective from consumerist-resource based understandings to a very different way of looking, feeling and thinking? 

 

I wish to create an installation piece with the input of 3 or 4 other artists who work in other media, sound, literary, photography, video and include a sculptural body of work that is a direct look at the spiritual aspects of our relationship with the water of the Great Lakes, and ask whether that idealized image, carried in the hearts and minds of our people, that has always been depicted as a strong and healthy entity throughout our history, that has been so capable of bearing the weight of the Canadian identity and our economic future and see if a group of non-native individuals, can actually tap into another point of view, can actually assess a spiritual view of waters place in our lives and come to terms with this other way of knowing the earth, through an integrated view of water’s place in our lives as something other that the resource / consumer based understanding of this fundamental element of our world.  I do allow the materials and process to guide the end result of the work . I want to explore the strength and tenacity of a biological system while admitting to its delicate character.

Life along the Great Waters