Presented in partnership with Yorkton Arts Council and OSAC, this exhibition is curated by Jera MacPherson and features artists Sarah Fougere, Bonnie Gilmour, Barbara Meneley, Vera Saltzman, Carol Schmold, Crystal Thorburn, and Sarah Timewell.
As a critical and thoughtful engagement, the show provides points of access through consideration of identity and history, as well as materiality. Ceramic pieces, paintings, light boxes, looping video, fabric art, and photography all demonstrate different approaches, complimenting the plurality that the Curator has brought together.
Settler narratives of homesteading the Prairies celebrate the lonely fortitude of that new condition. Often, the closest acknowledgement to the ways of life that preceded them being the wonder they experienced in finding arrowheads and old stone tools in their furrows. Wonder being the operative word, as Indigenous-erasure had become a national script implemented via legislation and poeticized in oil paint.
My own great-great grandparents settled in the Melfort, Saskatchewan area in 1927 by way of Denmark; and unlike many, they were not fleeing persecution. Rather, bitten by the frontier bug, their uprootal had been motivated by the paradoxical promise of land that could be all their own.
I open with my own position as a fifth-generation settler-Canadian because I have been cautioned by Carl Tracie paraphrasing Antje Schlottmann “that one is always involved in the construction of the region while researching it.” By placing myself in relation to the artists of this exhibition, whose work places them in relation to the physical territory of Saskatchewan, I hope to find a regional voice that nests then sways somewhere between the conceptual limits of a shared regionalism and the tenacious desire for connection.”
From curatorial statement, Everything I Needed to Know About Regional Identity, I Learned From Artists, by Jera MacPherson.