In partnership with the Bonavista Biennale, Craft @The Edge is moving forward with Robyn Love’s public art installation,“Unhistoric Acts,” which had been curated as part of the RE-CRAFTED exhibition. The piece will be installed on the fishing flakes near Mockbeggar Plantation, Bonavista from August 14 to September 12 2021. More information can be found here.
Unhistoric Acts uses two fish flakes near Mockbeggar Plantation in Bonavista as a site for exploring the largely unacknowledged role women played in the onshore fishery. One installation will use black fabric meticulously embroidered with the names of women in communities on the Bonavista Peninsula according to 1935 census data. The act of stitching these names, undertaken by the artist with assistance from women currently living locally, is a way of honouring women who used the flake as part of their work in the fishery economy. Work that, it should be noted, was done in addition to all their other, unpaid labours maintaining homes, gardens and families. From afar, this installation will make the flake appear to be a negative image of itself while upclose, viewers will be able to read the names of each woman. The second flake will be covered with a sheer, light blue fabric, which when seen in a certain light, also will seem to disappear or become a ghost of itself.
Acknowledging the forgotten labours of these women invites acknowledgement of another erased history - that of the indigenous people who lived on the peninsula before, during and after European settlement. To symbolically mark this history, each woman named Mary will be stitched in red embroidery floss. Mary was the name assigned to many Indigenous women who were assimilated into settler culture (ex. Demasduit was renamed Mary March). This gesture will be one way of pointing to the fact that there are many histories that have been erased as part of the ongoing story of the Bonavista Peninsula.
Robyn Love lives and works in Elmastukwek, Ktaqmkuk (Bay of Islands, Newfoundland). She received a BFA from Cooper Union in New York City in 1988. She has exhibited at galleries and museums internationally and received numerous project grants to create new work from foundations and public agencies. Her site-specific projects include a NewYork City Percent for Art commission for the High School for Law Enforcement and Public Safety in Jamaica, Queens, NY, a five-kilometre-long handmade installation in Cheongju, South Korea, and a large-scale, multi-media installation titled The House Museum in Ktaqmkuk (NL), which explored cultural tourism and museology as instruments for building community and equity.
Love received a Canada Council Project Grant in 2009 and two ArtsNL Project Grants in 2018 and 2020. She presented her participatory performance piece, SpinCycle, at The Brooklyn Museum in New York City, Northern University in Aberdeen, South Dakota, and at the ICCA in Inverness, NS. In 2017, she launched Small Things Brought Together, an online video series of long-format conversations exploring the creative process with artists from all disciplines.In 2020–21, she created three works exploring the history around women talking: Branks, Filling Out Memory and Muninn, as part of a year-long artist residency with the Grenfell Art Gallery, Memorial University Grenfell Campus, CornerBrook, NL.