I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to create a public art work for what I see as a new phase for Macewan University. It makes me proud.
My sister’s father-in-law, Stan, has rights to trapline territory. The idea for this project came first from a simple desire: I want to visit this trapline. I want to see the place and paint and learn about it. I want to hear the stories.
This trapline is an answer to a question for me: How might I create something which could give a kind of history to a new place and yet still create space for all the new stories?
The stories around traplines and hunting are deeply connected to people within small northern communities within Alberta who see Edmonton as their own city, the city they return to throughout their own lives.
To reference that in a new building for the arts, for the students, many of whom come from other communities to attend (like I did), is important. This is what can make a new facility a meaningful place.
On the floor of the atrium I will, in a manner of speaking, draw a line, in bronze, outlining the territory of Stan’s trapline, using a map he provided. The line will be very low relief on the floor, and will extend through most of the perimeter of the atrium.
The bronze will tarnish and wear with time. In other words, it will show its own history and the history of the university it occupies.
This work is about our human-ness. It is about how we connect to this new place, and how we connect to the stories all around us, and the new ones we will tell.
The bronze line which defines the perimeter of the the trapline territory serves to document something in a measured way. The paintings serve to make the land an emotional experience. Together they may underscore an empathetic way of considering a place you may not be familiar with, or have understood in that particular way.
I hope by creating this line, and these paintings, I am suggesting a different kind of monument.