My intent for Shadows of the Broken Earth is to explore a variety of different aspects within myself and through my practice. At the beginning of the 2019 Fall semester I began working on a series of lino prints that would never manifest fully but would directly inspire my screen print design for Orange Shirt Day. The design itself was heavily inspired by photographs referenced from the Shingwauk Residential School Archives. My maternal grandmother attended the St. Joseph Residential School in Spanish, Ontario. My grandfather was able to evade attending Shingwauk Residential School, but his life was not unscathed by colonialism and violence. The impacts residential schools have had on my family become more obvious as I educate myself more. By attending Algoma University which is on the site of the former Shingwauk Residential School, of which my ancestor Chief Shingwaukonse is the namesake, I found myself confronted with emotional obstacles I never expected. These hurdles are a huge part of why I choose to use my thesis as an opportunity to reconcile with myself and the land. I also found it necessary to honour the resilience of not only my family, but all the families torn by the colonial expanse.
In the fall I began walking through the wooded paths adjacent to Algoma University. It was a welcomed escape from the semi-populated sidewalks of the university. These paths not only allowed me serene passage where I could meditate within myself; the paths themselves gave me an opportunity to gather “purposeful” junk. Which probably is a fair enough assessment, given that most people are not attracted to clumps of leaves, partial decomposed sticks, bits of fungus, and actual pieces of trash. This obscure connection I had with the discarded and displaced objections on the land fuelled my desire to walk the trails and gather. Soon enough I was surrounded by bits of forests, dried foliage, and tabletops that were quickly running out of space. I thought most people would stop around this time, as I dragged a tree down into the school's basement studio.
My initial pieces were quite small sculptural collages that were to be displayed as floor installations, and as all my projects do, this quickly expanded into a wall sized installation. The installations recreate fragmented scenes , in order to evoke a memory or sensation related to a place that exists somewhere between reality and my inner self. My earliest concepts collaged together elements of fabricated landscapes, found materials, image projection and sound recordings. Initially the plan was to create multiple installations using the same fundamental principles throughout. However, I quickly began to exhaust my inventory of fabric and raw material. This material shortage led me into photographing and manipulating the images taken of my installations and found material with the photographs of the trails I had taken while walking through. This collaging resulted in two different series one made exclusively of digitally taken photos and the other uses a combination of photo enlargement and photogram process. This extension of my installation allowed me to more effectively explore my use of atmosphere and space.