BOSNIAN STILL-LIFE – Vortex Gallelry, Salt Spring Island, 1998
Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus. (Outside the church, no salvation). With this slogan the Catholic Church set out to spread their word. This is still, however, the ideal by which we peddle our philosophies and ideas. At the end of the Twentieth Century, when the signs looked very
country I felt compelled to document these uncertainties and changes. I saw similarities between this particular crossing of the Rubicon and the irreversible events taking place in Eastern Europe. The work I made immediately before my departure and on arrival in Canada dealt with an uprooting experience, a sort of death and rebirth. Four years later, although at times frustrated at not being present as events unfolded, a new country allowed me to have a less emotional, more balanced perspective. It was a time for me to find out that, however much I hate my own people……I love them equally as much.
“The dream is part of our very essence. Given the gift of self-consciousness, we can dream versions of ourselves, new selves for old. Working as well as sleeping, our response to the world is essentially “imaginative”, that is, picture making. We live in our pictures, our ideas. I mean this literally. We first construct pictures of the world and then we step inside the frames. We come to equate the picture with the world, so that, in certain circumstances, we will even go to war because we find someone else’s picture less pleasing than our own”. Salman Rushdie, Imaginary Homelands.
To understand ideas they must be worked through. For an artist knowledge is transformed as it is moved from
the head, through the body, to the material used. Creation is the result of intention being transformed into action, it is never done without cost. What is the equivalent for a nation?
The end of this century and millennium ended with civil and ethnic war and ethnic cleansing on the scale unprecedented since World War II. Playing itself out in places like Rwanda, Burundi, Bosnia, Kosovo, Somalia, Angola and the former U.S.S.R. and our television sets.
“Ethnic Nationalism claims that an individual’s deepest attachments are inherited, not chosen. It is the individual, not the individuals who define the national community. This psychology of belonging may have greater depth than civic nationalism’s but the sociology that accompanies it is a great deal less realistic.” Michael Ignatieff Blood and Belonging.
These installations question our sense of belonging and identification. They are not intended as a lecture, therapy or a purge but they point a finger as much at “me” or “you” as at “them”. The documentation of the artist is often different from that of the journalist, holding up the mirror, not only to reflect and recognize ourselves, but also our times. This is then transferred through the imagination to the visual language.