THE BRIDGE ARTIST PROJECTS
As audiences stroll across the bridge they will have the opportunity to interact with works created by professional and emerging artists from the Fredericton region. Each artist or group of artists is interrogating, exploring and celebrating a different moment in our shared history through their own medium, be it music, film, dance, theatre, visual art, performance art or poetry. The Bridge Project is proud to be working with Fredericton's arts community and offering this space for artists of diverse backgrounds and mediums to share their work.
'Tea Time' by Natalie Sappier and Abby Paige
Multidisciplinary Wolastoqiyik artist Natalie Sappier-Samaqani Cocahq alongside poet, playwright, and performer Abby Paige will be creating an original performance piece. Their collaboration will explore moments of encounter, exchange, witness, reconciliation, and healing. “First contact” is the term anthropologists use to describe the meeting of two cultures previously unaware of one another. Drawing from personal and official histories, poetry and song, the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and other sources, they will search for what it means to hear, see, know, and communicate with each other for the first time, four hundred years after their peoples first met.
Scenes by Ryan Griffith
Local playwright, and Artistic Producer of Next Folding Theatre Company, Ryan Griffith will be composing several short scenes about the Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge. These scenes will be performed by past and present Theatre St. Thomas alumna.
'This is Us' by Kelly Baker
This is Us is a photography exhibition of 15 photographs which will highlight the diverse lives of five of Fredericton's homeless shelter residents. Fredericton, like many Canadian cities, struggles to adequately house all of its residents. Housing insecure residents rely on unstable houses and homeless shelters. These less-than-ideal living situations nevertheless become sites of home, hope and community. This exhibition attempts to speak to the diverse parts as well as hopeful futures of Fredericton's homeless population.
"Sakolikapuwicik - Ones (Standing Ones)" by Danielle Hogan
Danielle Hogan's project for The Bridge centers on the accomplishments of a Wolastoqey woman who has had an effect not only on the lives of Indigenous New Brunswickers but, in fact, innumerable Canadians. This textile piece honours Canadian senator Sandra Lovelace Nicholas. In 1979, on behalf of Indigenous women and children, Lovelace Nicholas brought her case of discrimination against the Canadian Government to United Nations Human Rights Committee. Six years later, in 1985, she succeeded in forcing Parliament to revoke a discriminatory and sexist section of the Indian Act that deprived women marrying non-Aboriginals to lose their official status and, deprived their children of their status also.
'Watermark' by Ian LeTourneau
Ian LeTourneau's poem interacts with public art that already exists near the river (Gerald Beaulieu’s installation Watermark). In this poem he wanted the tributaries of language, heritage, historical records, and myth to converge into a river of words that blend the past and present. The river is an ever-changing entity, and it reflects the change in all of us from day to day, not unlike how the season changes from Winter to Spring while we are preoccupied with the yearly threat of flooding.
'The Lovely Bones' by Rosey Peterson
The Lovely Bones is a collection of animal skulls from Eastern Canada. Donated from hunters, farmers, and explorers, each one has its own story. All the pieces are painted with vibrant colors on a solid background. This exhibit will display the relationship that we have with Animals in this country. We began as hunters and trappers, and evolved into farmers. As our country grew and the wilderness decreased, we sometimes found that the animals come to us.
Artist Miguelina Izaguirre will be creating a performance piece about Immigration/migration, the different stages through which we cross this "bridge" between what we left behind and what it represents our new present. The performers will all be wearing swallow masks. Swallows have been essential to decode aspects of immigration.During the Middle Ages swallows were considered as a symbol of renovation and rebirth. Swallows represent a sentiment related to the peoples and in the same sense, almost all symbologists relate it to renovation and change, or, spring. Within this story of of our journey, our fears, hopes,how we go and how we come, return within each immigrant there is its own migration.
Bead Work Project by Rudi Aker
Local artist, Rudi Aker, will be creating a bead work project about the loss of salmon and language tied to the Wolastoq.
More info to come!
Davidson will sketch with acrylic pen and brush on canvas the activities of the public, and some of the preformers, as they experience The Bridge Project. What will be produced will show the diversity of the public as they see him paint and the art progress, as they pass, or stand, in the area.This project is based on the idea that the sum total of the 150 years of history is today, and one way to record today is to record what is happening in this event on the Bridge as artists and audience experience this event.
'Stinky Mill Making Stuff' by Penelope Stevens
Penelope Stevens is a multi-disciplinary artist living in Fredericton, NB. When she's not playing rock music, you can usually find her holed up in Shiftwork Studio, carving toothbrushes, making zines, or occasionally taxidermy-ing mice. Penelope's piece for the Bridge Project is an ode to the antiquated industries of New Brunswick, drawing on nostalgia and the childlike wonder of growing up in a mill town.
Mariah Sockabasin is a wabanaki emerging artist, fashion designer and mother in Fredericton, New Brunswick. "I will be creating a leather deer & moose hide dress inspired by Kateri Tekakwitha, a Roman Catholic saint who was an algonquin-mohawk woman. She was just canonized in 2012, some see her as a connection to the worst aspects of colonialism, some see her as a light for our people. I would like to focus on seeing her as a person in this project, put religions aside and focus on a young woman, who probably felt divided between two worlds, torn between her roots and conforming to a new world. Kateri; a young woman, so young, wise, healer, friend, skilled at leather work ,basketry, enjoyed collecting produce and preparing wild game, refused to marry- Lily of the Valley. When I see this dress and how it will be displayed, I see grass, a mannequin in my dress, propped with her arms open ready to give and receive love. flowers at her feet."
'BID NOW' by Kelly Gwen Pleau
Kelly Gwen Pleau is a Yonsei (4th generation Japanese Canadian) artist, investigating Japanese immigration, internment and discrimination in North America. BID NOW takes the shape of a silent auction, in which representations of items once seized by the Canadian government are made available to bid on and own. In 1943, 21,460 Japanese Canadians' homes, businesses, and property were sold to pay for their own internment. Participants temporarily take the role of those complicit in this act of dispossession, thus replaying and reflecting upon a difficult moment in our shared history. All profits from the auction will be donated to the National Council of Canadian Muslims.
The Coop CORPS
Using text gathered from public conversations held during their residency through the Fredericton Arts Alliance, the coop company members will create short dynamic movement pieces that will be turned into a longer work of physical theatre. Who are we? Where do we come from? And where are we going? These are the questions the coop artists will pose to the public and that will be the catalyst for the physical theatre work that is generated.
'Unceded Red Territory' by Possesom
Nipahtuwet Naka Wespahtuwet Possesom is a Wolastoq performance artist. He is a member of the Wabanaki Grass Dance Society, and a keeper of traditional knowledge. He is also an accomplished champion dancer, who has toured all through North America.This project is a reminder of the consistent fact that the city of Fredericton is built and exists on unceded Wolastoq territory. As the artists move through space and time, they tie off secret strips of red cloth, the same which they use to signify ceremonial areas. The dancers are from the Wabanaki Society of Grass Dancers who serve their people as "the ones who go first the ones who prepare sacred space." They are modern people living in the new, and holding their traditions in a modern space. These people have been here since time immemorial and through the thousands of years of their existence their spirit has stayed strong a testament of the power of being part of the homeland that the river provides.
Beavers by Sylvette Fortin
One of our national symbols is known to be a hard worker. With his skills and perseverance, the beaver creates his own little world. By using a variety of used and new fabric, Sylvette Fortin wanted to celebrate this wonderful animal and recreate its world. A beaver lodge will be built with an old quilt, bringing back fond memories of blanket fort making from childhood. This peice will also pay homage to the hard work of Fortin's predecessors, the Acadians, represented by turning old wool sweaters into logs. Like the beaver, they were experts at using what materials were available to build their homes, and in doing so laid the foundation for the future.
For this project, Tara has decided to address an issue that deeply affected her people upon contact. As trade with colonists and fur traders increased our people spent more and more time creating items for the trade market, which took time away from their own traditional seasonal preparations. Examples of this include; fine ribbons and fabrics, European beads and jewelry, and alcohol. For the duration of the Bridge installation she will be creating small porcupine quill examples of some of these trade items, using the traditional Mi'k maq technique of quill insertion on birch bark.
Readings by Wolf Tree Writers
The Wolftree Writers have been meeting for 26 years. While on The Bridge, they will read texts written by members past and present, on the subject of our pasts -- poems about one-room schoolhouses, or about growing up in rural NB; a memoir of Great-Aunt Bessie (1849-1934) a nurse, journalist and entrepreneur who helped get the women's vote out in 1917, etc. Members who have confirmed that they will participate include Shari Andrews, Virginia Bjerkelund, Kathy Mac and Janet Patch
'Pierre Trudeau' by Matthew LeBlanc
Matt LeBlanc is a fourth year student pursuing double honours in Political Science and Great Books at St. Thomas University. In late 2015 Matt played the part of Pierre Elliott Trudeau in TST’s production of Video Cabaret’s Trudeau & the FLQ. The theatrical style merges political history with dramatic clown makeup, exhibiting the faux persona that political leaders adopt in the public realm. The face paint hyper-amplifies the slightest change in facial expressions, mirroring the effect of modern news cameras focusing so closely on politicians’ faces during speeches. Matt will be reanimating Pierre Elliott Trudeau for the Bridge Project by reading select monologues, speeches and essays spoken or written throughout his life. Reflecting Canada’s 150th requires recollecting the monumental and polarizing impact that P.E.T. had on constitutionalism, bilingualism, multiculturalism, Québec separatism, and classical liberalism applied to the Canadian context.
'Family Tree' by Esther Soucoup
Esther Helen Soucoup is a transgender artist from St. Stephen New Brunswick. They came to Fredericton to pursue a degree in English with a concentration in Drama through St. Thomas University. Family Tree aims to show that LGBTQ communities within New Brunswick have roots here, but they’ve been ripped from the dirt and scattered. When thinking about history of culture there are always pieces missing. Esther wanted to look at what specific pieces were missing, why they are missing, and what might have happened to the queer history we don’t read about in the text books at school?
'LINGUA FRANCA spoken here' by Jennifer Lee
The work involves Lee, and individuals who step forward to participate in her survey/engagement regarding their ability to communicate with language. Lingua franca is a term for the language that is adopted as a common language between speakers whose native languages are different. New Brunswick is "bilingual", yet this ironically does not capture the languages spoken in this territory by indigenous peoples for thousands of years before colonization occurred. This project disrupts the dominant paradigm regarding the entitlement of the speakers of english.
With the traditional jingle dress, Amanda will perform a dance in prayer to communicate the sacredness of water for Indigenous peoples across Canada. Throughout Canadian history, and more recently in New Brunswick, Indigenous peoples have defended water with the recognition that it is necessary for life. It presents a common ground for Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike. The Wolastoqiyik have an inseparable relationship with the Wolastoq (the river that the Bill Thorpe Bridge crosses). The name, Wolastoq, is understood to be the beautiful river. Amanda will also demonstrate her understanding of teachings that specifically connect women to the water. This jingle dress dance will include smudging and offering tobacco to the Wolastoq, to give thanks for her role in sustaining life. It is requested that pictures are not taken during the performance, but can be taken with the dancer before or after.
'Regrets' by Julietta McGovern
Regrets is a visual meditation of personal and collective mistakes and missteps we have experienced in the past 150 years. In collaboration with Canadian Historians “Regrets” presents moments where time reveals we were on the wrong side of history. In review of these moments we can take a step back to reflect and ultimately do better when we step forward. “Regrets” also holds space for personal observation. In reading the mistakes of history, the viewer is challenged by empty spaces to write in personal mistakes and commit themselves to move forward in a more positive way.
The art and practice of making ash baskets is a large piece of the history of the Indigenous culture of the area. Each piece of material used in building the ash basket has a purpose and contributes to the final outcome of the product. Over the duration of the day various individuals from both indigenous and non-Indigenous communities will be building a large ash basket. As visitors to the bridge walk along they will have the opportunity to add to the basket. Each day as individuals, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, we have the chance to choose to promote negativity, ignorance, hate towards one another. Or we have the chance to choose love positively, solidarity, understanding, cooperation, kindness. This project represents community and explores the possibility of creating something beautiful when people from two separate communities work together. It is an example of what can be accomplished on a larger scale in society if we as individuals do our part, educate ourselves, contribute, cooperate and use our voices positively.
'Dr. Priestman' by Jon Holt
Artist Jon Holt will be recreating the moment in Fredericton's history, when Dr. Priestman attempted to save two boys from drowning who had fallen into the Wolastoq, however he was able unable to save the boys and lost his life in the process. Holt enjoys creating representations of people, both living and deceased, in miniature size from Polyclay. He hopes to do this sad piece of Fredericton history justice.
'Slaves No More' by Kelli Wray and Clyde A. Wray
Interpretive dancer, Kelli Wray, and her husband, poet, Clyde A. Wray, will be collaborating on a project for The Bridge. Slaves No More will explore the arrival of black loyalist settlers into New Brunswick. There, settlers found their freedom, independence, and home on Canadian soil. This project explores their important journey through dance and spoken original poetry, an important part of our history and cultural diversity.
'Kinap' by Carly Sappier
Carly Sappier is an aspiring filmmaker from Wolastokuk, Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick. Currently Sappier is about to begin her 3rd year at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, enrolled in a competitive film program. Kinap (2015) is a collaboration between first year filmmakers at Simon Fraser University (Carly Sappier & Gordon Wong). Written and Directed by Carly Sappier, she explores the claustrophobic atmosphere inspired from a scene in We Were Children (2012) directed by Tim Wolochatiuk. The young warrior in Kinap is held captive in a dirty closet hidden away in the basement of a priest's rectory. Kinap represents the children who have gone through the abuse and assimilation in the residential school system.
'Rainbow Warrior' by Angela Beek
The prophecy of the rainbow warrior is the inspiration behind this piece. "When the earth is ravaged, and the animals are dying, a new tribe if people shall come into earth from many colors, classes, and creeds and who, by their actions and deeds shall make the earth green again". Sometimes the present state of the world can be worrisome, scary, enraging, sad. I see us quickly headed to a ravaged earth if we don't change... and quickly. The rainbow warrior prophecy represents my belief that we WILL come together to heal the world for the next 7 generations coming after us. I believe there are rainbow warriors here already and many many more are waking up. So this Is for all of you. Those who join together in love for all humanity and all life, who stand to protect and help heal our brothers and sisters and Mother Earth. This is also for those of you who may not be there yet, not quite awake. I thank you for your teachings and I wish you love and peace.