In 2017 I sailed in the high Arctic as the artist-in-residence aboard Leg 8 of the Canada C3 Expedition, a legacy project marking the 150th Anniversary of Canada’s Confederation. This epic 150-day sailing journey from Toronto to Victoria via the Northwest Passage had the goal of creating a conversation amongst Canadians from all walks of life about the challenges of reconciliation, inclusion, diversity and climate change.
Who is Speaking? Who is Listening? was created as an offering to the process of reconciliation in a country grappling with its colonial past. Open Channels ran at the Canada Council for the Arts Âjagemô Space in Ottawa from June 2019 to January 2020.
While in Nunavut, the importance of listening rang true; to the land, to each other, to ourselves. Our level of consciousness tempers what we are able to hear. Persistent colonial attitudes, power and privilege are toxic. When a message is clothed in beauty, I believe you can have greater success encouraging people to examine themselves, their attitudes and their behaviour.
Ear horns are a shape that both Europeans and Indigenous Peoples have a connection to. The bones of the buffalo were ground up and used in the production of European porcelain. My aim was to draw attention to the quality of both speaking and listening today by making elements for the sculpture out of this fragile material. Why are we so slow to wake up? Are we hard of hearing? Are we talking past each other? Suggesting nation-to-nation communication, I created a dialogue between a wave of equal components moving together, apart, then together again on level ground. This work speaks to my deeply held belief in the inherent nobility and oneness of all people.