Please join us at the IMA gallery at 7pm on Friday, May 25 for the Opening and Artist Talk for Clare Singleton’s exhibition, “A Life for Land.” On Saturday, May 26, join Clare for a day of painting plein air around Wells. More info here.
A Life for Land documents the dispossessed and a fierce attachment to land at all costs. Three dimensional sewn, painted maps, forms and paintings are done on site over a seven year period . A long time immigrant surviving on the land in Central Northern British Columbia In Canada informs this work. Ghosts and Ancient magic colour the adversity, debt and naysayers in a visual journey marked by pride and determination where the choice to leave is not an option.
Documenting life in the bush is Real and dependent on one’s own ability to survive and adapt. Whilst it is one thing to adapt to nature whilst creating art living in a wall tent or a homestead it is quite another to adapt to a country, a people, a language and an economy completely different from one’s own experience. In losing everything there is the willingness to work the body and mind hard to survive. However when the dominant culture with it’s rules and restrictions attempts to intercede and force unfa-miliar ways many collapse and go under. The difference is when you have only yourself to lose you carry on no matter what .
Over the past seven years I have had the privilege of the inside track of such a journey. Many farmers went under in the North holding onto cattle for many years during the mad cow disaster unless they had outside work. If language and skill sets make that impossible then diversification and doing everything you can think of to survive was all there was. One area of hope after these grueling seven years of having to hold onto worthless cattle the market refused to buy due to politics was logging. How-ever the pine bark beetle came to destroy half of this bank account on the land . Even the damaged trees consumed gas and time before getting logs to market. Mother has to be looked after, carried to the fields and cannot be left alone. The outside world is not an option. You do it all yourself. You live on the land and with the land.
Judgement is a choice. To understand immigration and the oppressed one has to realize the experiences that bring people to a moment in time.
Listening to others and respecting choices you cannot always understand is necessary. Then there is pride in all its’ guises. The choices we and those in power make influence and determine our lives when leaving is not an option.
Clare Singleton, Endako, BC
February 19, 2018