Ahoy, ahoy!  First of all, Happy Thanksgiving weekend!  I celebrated with a quesadilla from Jungle Jim’s. Very different from a big celebratory feast, but I was among friends, so the experience as a whole was actually quite lovely. Anyways, I know this one’s a bit late going up, but it’s been a bit of a holiday for the past two days…time to get back into reality!

Our focus last Thursday was the Canadian landscape, yet again.  Going into this course, I wouldn’t have thought we would spend so much time focused on the Canadian landscape painting.  I’m unsure of what else I though we would be learning about, but when you think about it, it actually makes quite a bit of sense that so much Canadian art would be inspired by our landscape.  In this lecture in particular, Gemey mentioned that the landscape was what Canadian artists realized they had to “sell”.  Other industries realized this as well, and with the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway, one could travel from one end of the country to another and take in all of the natural beauty our country has to offer.  Tom Thompson and the Group of Seven would later reinvent landscape painting, and those who first forayed into the field painted everything from Banff’s mountains to exciting canoe scenes of river rapids to the great cedar forest of British Columbia.  The terrain seemed to be pure and unharnessed by man’s industrial touch.

Emergent artists today are still very much involved with interaction between themselves and the land.  This weekend, I had the pleasure of going to the Confederation Centre in Charlottetown and going to the art gallery.  A new exhibition by Hannah Claus was being installed and I find that she is an artist who draws on landscape in a much more subtle way in her work, but it is still there, quite present.  Hannah came to speak with my film and photography class about her work, and her artistic style is influenced by her Mohawk background.  There were a few pieces at the Charlottetown exhibit that stuck out to me as interaction between landscape and the artist.  The first piece was a projection of a blue china pattern dish of water onto river rocks  The projection is obstructed every few seconds, by a drop of water into the dish.  This projection of a European china pattern onto rocks, signifies an interesting correlation between the artist’s Mohawk heritage and European heritage.  Is European influence merely a projection onto the Canadian landscape?

This is the clearest image I could find of the installation.

The concept of European presence in Canada as being a temporary thing is absurd to most people, laughable even.  We most definitely believe we, those of European descent, are here to stay.  Is our country not often described as a melting pot, or a mosiac?  Canada’s culture and people are described as being a fusion, a blend, a mixed bag of any sort of combination or possibility.  Surely European presence is more than just a projection?  Yet, in another country, similar to Canada in it’s history of colonization, and also a member of the Commonwealth, is New Zealand.  The ongoing controversy of who owns the coastline of New Zealand was addressed in the Foreshore and Seabed Act of 2004, which declared the land to belong to the Crown.  However, in June 2010 the Act was repealed.  Will the Maori people of New Zealand gain control over the coastline?  It’s a very real possibility, and the prevailing presence of the European New Zealand citizens may actually come to an end.  While their influence may never be completely eradicated, it is quite the concept to consider that the control may be taken away from them and given back to original inhabitants of the land.  To learn more about the current status of the Foreshore and Seabed Act, visit http://www.justice.govt.nz/policy-and-consultation/foreshore-and-seabed

Well that’s all for tonight!  Hopefully everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving!