Revisiting "Fragmented", an exhibition I showed in 2010
In 2010 my work was exhibited at the Art Gallery of Regina, a public gallery in Regina Saskatchewan. For this exhibition, I decided to show something a little different, but work that fitted into my interest in family history and biography. The result was a series of 17 large drawings based on my grandmother's diary during the occupation of the island of Jersey, Channel Islands in WW2.
The occupation by the Nazis lasted for 5 years, but my grandmother wrote a diary only for the 1st 6 months, as it was an illegal activity. Her diary was about her every day activities as a housewife, but the terrible situation in which my grandparents and family were living under, coloured her words.
I drew out 22 themes from the diary and researched around these, from archival material, interviews with people who had been young children during that time, museum curators and historians. The resulting drawings reflect the anxiety of the times, mixed media spliced and slashed in pieces with handwritten notes and rough text and sketches. they are not meant to be pretty, but to reflect the grittiness and the difficulties that everyday housewives like my grandmother bravely lived through.
I chose the title "Fragmented" to describe what islanders must have felt cut off from the world, whilst their occupiers tried to condense and mould them and their land into something foreign and bereft of their former lives.
I cannot possibly know how it feels to exist in occupied or war torn territory, but the drawings helped me to understand more about my own family history. As I revisit this work, I also want to reflect on how women must cope in situations of present day conflict.
This November 11, I will be showing these drawings again in my studio. It will be open to the public from 1-5 p.m or if you would like to see the work and cannot come then, by appointment. The work will be on display for the next week. Besides the drawings, I have some archival material and documents which will also be on display. There will be a voluntary donation for the work of SAGA, an organization which supports the sanctuary of refugee families in our community.
Maison Bleue Studio 1105 Pat Burns Avenue Gabriola November 11 , 1-5 2016