Art in Place

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After all, anybody is as their land and air is. Anybody is as the sky is low or high, the air heavy or clear and anybody is as there is wind or no wind there. It is that which makes them and the arts they make and the work they do and the way they eat and the way they drink and the way they learn and everything.

– Gertrude Stein

tree_cropI read this quote the other day in the book “Becoming Animal” by David Abram.  It has been spinning around in my head ever since. Many artists take inspiration from the natural world, but it seems to be a step further to look at how the place where you are makes you and thus also makes your art.

I grew up here in Southern Ontario, but I moved to the West coast in my twenties. I met my husband there; my children were born there. It was Home. Then we moved back (long story) and I’ve felt like a transplant that just won’t take ever since.

I’d forgotten, or perhaps I had never realized, how much I had become Garryoak and camus, cedar and starfish, salt air and glimpses of snow covered peaks across the straights. Here, here there is trilliums and mayapple and new green in the Spring; the glowing red of woodbine in the fall and cardinals in the winter. But, mostly it seems to be old fields growing rows of new houses, new forests growing trees in rows, and glimpses of city sky lines across the valleys. What to make of discord of place ? What art ? What becoming ?


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