Saturday, April 30, 2011

In Memoriam


This painting is dedicated to the families of more than 500 missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada as well as Sisters in Spirit who are fighting to make this issue a priority in the political, social and judicial milieu. It is primarily intended to encapsulate their battle for remembrance and recognition of the disappearance and death of their loved ones in the face of discrimination and overwhelming indifference by the police and government in Canada.

The names and dates of disappearance and/or death of about 35 Aboriginal women have been included in the painting to not only ensure that they are remembered but also to represent them as subjects, as human beings, as people who are loved and missed. They are literally embodied in the primary subject of the painting (in her hair) and metaphorically in her grief.

Although the number of names included in the painting does not begin to approach the estimated figure, these cases, dating back to the mid 1960s, represent the state of most cases of missing and murdered aboriginal women- unsolved and/or pending investigation. This can be attributed, in great part, to discrimination and indifference on the part of the police and the government and their push to silence all those who advocate for these women. The maple leaf resting heavily on the mouth of the main subject of the painting represents recent efforts of the Harper government to silence Sisters in Spirit by threatening a withdrawal of funding unless the latter dispose of their database, refrain from using government funds for research and policy and rename the organization “Evidence and Action.”

Grief, unrelenting and encumbered by a lack of justice, is portrayed in the harebells and snowdrops that intersperse the names of our stolen sisters. Harebells have historically symbolized grief. Ironically, these flowers of grief are native to British Columbia- home to the infamous “Highway of Tears”.  Snowdrops, which also grow in BC, symbolize death as they grow close to the ground and thus close to the buried. Interestingly, snowdrops also symbolize hope, perhaps an indication of the strength and courage of the families and allies of missing and murdered Aboriginal women who will continue to fight for justice. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mask

Title: Mask
Date: July 2008
Medium: 2B and 6B pencils
I love butterflies and masquerade balls...who doesnt?! They are the perfect combination of beauty and intrigue :)

I know the eyes are a little off...but I love how the mask turned out :D! 


Monday, December 6, 2010

Levitate

Title: Levitate
Date: October 2007
Medium: Watercolour pencils on paper 

I was going through some rough times in the fall of 2007. I had just moved to a new city for grad school. I struggled immensely with school. Always having been an A student I took it hard when professors either ignored me or made me feel extremely stupid. I had no friends or family in the city to draw on for support. I became more and more withdrawn, isolated and depressed. Loneliness became palpable and manifested in tears and art. 
My art took on new form during this time. It brought my first forays into colour. This piece was a product of a particular phase where everything I drew took on jagged lines and empty eyes. In retrospect, it seems to speak to the hollowness I felt every single day.

Me, My Art, Myself

To: All my kin folk i.e. the procrastinators, unemployed hard workers, underemployed dreamers, overlooked loners, underappreciated artists, over-caffeinated grad students,and any other patrons who happen to stop by my little corner of cyberspace

Subject: A little self indulgent blurb (please bear with me)

I am an insignificant person. Wait! let me rephrase that...I am a happy insignificant person. I revel in the fact that I am mostly anonymous. I say 'mostly' only because I do have a few people who love me and care about me. But other than that I am nothing more than an insignificant grad student who, like most people her age, is in her introspective "where is my life going" phase. In other words I am an EXTREMELY bored grad student in her late twenties whose love for art is only tempered by the fact that she is not much of an artist. I have known for a long time that my work is average. I am not creative in a way that affects people. I don't have the skill or talent to make art that touches the soul, shatters perceptions and creates awe. Hell I can't even create a little discomfort. As a result my art is just as insignificant as I am.

This blog then is not so much about tooting my own horn (especially since there is not much to toot about). It is more a result of an existential crisis (that apparently all grad students have) that is clamouring for an outlet. I feel this irrepressible urge to mingle with artists who have so bravely chosen to share their work and their inspirations- and mostly to become part of a community.

Here's hoping for some stimulating conversation and some mutual inspiration.

Jess