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Some of you may know that Highway Sixteen in Canada (the part from Prince Rupert to Prince George, B.C.) has been given the name, Highway of Tears. This is to acknowledge how many women have disappeared while hitch hiking along its length. Some have later been found murdered. Some have never been found. Officially there are about 10 names on the list, but there are more than this. Local people consider the number to be closer to 30.
A friend of mine, Linda Stringfellow, wanted to do something positive to bring attention to these women. She organized a travelling exhibition called Missing Women on Highway Sixteen.
The applique piece shown below, the tapestry of your absence, is my contribution to this show.
It is a hanging about five feet square made from raw silk and taffeta.
Here is the statement that travelled with the piece.
This piece is created in memory of Cathy and Melodie
The tree-like forms that radiate from the center to the extremes of the circle in this piece, represent our Northern landscape and the force of life, while the black dancing figure indicates the loss of this life force when women are stolen from us through acts of violence. In each corner a woman weeping (her hands over her face) mourns what is before her. Perhaps these women speak of the four seasons or the four directions. Perhaps they are the visages of those who seek to protect what is precious, in despair because they are left powerless. Their shapes mimic the mountains. Perhaps they are simply women weeping, a mother maybe, a sister, a friend.
I created this in silk applique to reflect the slow painstaking work women do as caregivers and the work we all do to stitch our lives together after such grave loss.
It is so hard to comprehend, impossible really, for none of this makes sense in the heart. We share these losses. They are scars upon us. I bear my own wounds and I offer this work as an embrace to others who know deep pain, one small gift calling us to fight violence and create beauty.
This poem is a part of the piece:
what we don't know haunts us.
yours is the hollow place carved next to the heart
where keening winds constantly etch your name.
your memory dances holes in the landscape.
this is the tapestry of your absence.
A number of paintings are now available as 5"x7" notecards. These cost $5.00 per card (includes shipping, taxes etc.) or $40.00 for 10 (a single image or a variety - your choice)
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Gift certificates are available in any denomination. These do not expire and are delivered by either mail or e-mail.
I do also have copies of my book, The Rosemary Suite, available for $25.00.
Other links where you can find more of my work: http://www.gallerydir.com and http://www.art-exchange.com
Michael Jackson (Criminal Lawyer and Professor of Law. U.B.C.) is one of the subjects for the fear in fragment series.
He has written a book on the prison system that deserves our attention. (http://www.justicebehindthewalls.net)
Other Artists' Links:
I am including here a small list of artist's web sites for your interest:
Freyja Barnwell - artist/designer (http://www.freyjaiscreative.ca)
Caril Chasens - sculpture in wood (http://www.chasens.ca)
Edward Epp - paintings in varied media (http://www3.telus.net/eepp)
Chuck Heit - Gitxsan carver (http://www.ya-ya.ca)
Paul and Carole Huel - pottery (http://www.kispiox.com/pottery)
Todd Stockner - fine furniture (http://iwoodfish.com)
Many thanks to Heather McMichael for her technical facility (I have none) and her patience as we created this website.
And thanks so much to Freyja Barnwell for her photo of me.