William Blair Bruce Fine Arts European Travel Scholarship
PROJECT DEFINITION AND LOCATIONS
I received the William Blair Bruce Fine Arts European Travel Scholarship from The Canadian Scandinavian Foundation and it marked the beginning of new research and investigations involving my cultural lineage and questions around the origins of 'home' (place / displacement). I wanted to prompt some critical questions around the issue of 'home' through ancestral artifacts by locating lineage's that trace my ancestral roots from the Nordic races of Scandinavia back to the Hebrides of Scotland.
My plan is to travel to Norway, Sweden, The Outer Hebrides, The Shetland and Orkney Islands as part of this research project.
This awareness began with my own personal experience as a, Euro-Canadian white male, growing up across the Lake Of Two Mountains from a Mohawk indigenous society. With little knowledge or contact with this community, I only became aware of my own displacement during the Oka crisis of 1990. My physical attribute's hair and skin colour say so when I look in the mirror. Understandably it is not from the Native lands of Canada in a sense.
Thus my inquiry starts here; to situate myself historically and to challenge presumed notions of historic art as a valuable resource for change. I would like to travel to archaeological sites and museums in Scandinavia and Scotland to trace back parallels between the Scottish and Scandinavian cultures. The study of these artifacts and architecture should help me illustrate the roots and influence Scandinavia brought to Scotland. Through this study I would like to unlock the origins of my home and ancestry.
The project would follow nomadic paths through artifact. The definition of archaeology is; the systematic recovery and scientific study of material evidence of human life and culture in past ages. Through the research and study of these histories and art making practices, my process will be to produce a series of drawings, paintings, photographs, and rubbings of stone relief’s that will show the correlation between both Scottish and Scandinavian art, possibly where both Viking and Scottish symbols exist. Illustrations of sites are at the end of this proposal.
At the turn of this century the question of 'home' strikes me as an important relationship for sustainable living and is of global concern. That is why I have always been interested in history. I think if we understand our past, we may begin to understand our present and future. Then we may begin to become historically accountable and work as active agents toward positive change. This understanding can prevent future mistakes if we choose to make the effort to research these pasts and not get side tracked by a prevailing North American TV complacency.
The Latin root of the word 'ecology' means 'home,' and it's a hard place to find these days. Our cultures have again become transient for different reasons other than 'nomadic', market economies dictating work and living locations, political unrest, over-population expansion and immigration. My ancestry was a part of that process and my future holds the same uncertainty.
QUESTIONS AND OUT COME
I would like to close with some questions that will set the premise for this study. Where did I come from? Who am I as a result of that move? Where will I be living? How will I be living? What will be the cause of this change? Can we live in a self-sustaining environment? Did our ancestors our ancestors live in a self-sustaining environment?