On October-1-2022 I gave a public talk on artistic production and/as cultural memory at the ACT Arts Centre (Maple Ridge), in connection with their exhibition Labour and Memory: Ukrainian-Canadian Contexts.
The exhibition featured the work of three Canadian women artists, whose work explores their remote (two or more generations) Ukrainian ancestry. Of the three artists, I focused on the textile and moving-image work of Ayla Dmyterko, whose exploration of cultural memory offers the most nuanced and troubled relationship to cultural nostalgia of the three artists. Details of the exhibition and the talk, which was free to the public, can be found here:
My own (tenuous) connection to Ukrainian history stems from my beloved maternal grandmother, who passed away several years ago, and it meant a lot to me that my mother was able to attend this event. Since I structured the event to combine my presentation with audience storytelling, my mother had a chance to share some of her own responses to the artworks in the show. The piece that especially moved her was a series of four large etching prints by Darlene Kalynka known as the Scythes series, each one featuring a scythe that represents Kalynka and one matriarch in her family (her mother and her two grandmothers). It’s rare that my family has a chance to witness my work as a scholar or educator, let alone to participate in an event. The fact that this particular event allowed us to honour my grandmother felt very special.