(re)member of water

ee portal

Galerie du Nouvel-Ontario (GNO), Sudbury

 

In Sudbury, we experienced Junction creek, zig-zagging across the city, and flowing beneath the gallery. Here, textiles and video evoked the waterway made invisible by urban planning. Based in my interest in painting, yet desire to leave my acrylic paints behind (not only energy-intensive to produce, water-based acrylics contaminate watersheds with synthetic biocides, emulsifiers and pigments), I collected watershed plants to experience the local colour palette. At night a textile, dyed with black walnut pigment collected over an urban buried waterway, was illuminated by solar energy gathered in house.

 

Contemplations

vylyvaty visk: the pouring forth of fear (Published in the Journal of Comparative Media Arts)

In the winter of 2013, I was gifted the book, Baba’s Kitchen Medicines, where I learned about the wax ceremony, a form of Ukrainian spiritual healing. I asked my relatives if they had ever encountered this modality, and discovered that one of my cousins had been remedied of nightmares through ‘wax pouring.’ As I looked into this practice further, I encountered the M.A. thesis of Rena Hanchuk, The Word and Wax.

Hanchuk describes how wax pouring was an European Indigenous technology that survived through syncretism. While some wax pourers might have been referred to as ‘witches’, they were accepted among early pioneers due to their pious affiliations. Today, they continue to practice in Alberta. Some wax pourers will donate a substantial amount of their earnings to the church. Through a close reading of their incantations and rituals, Hanchuk has found explicit Christian elements, along side pre-Christian relationships. Hanchuk elaborates that although the worldviews are fused, the prayer “wields power and even medicinal properties” that are experienced by the client.