Changing Places is an exhibition centered around the complexities of memory, history and cultural identity. It explores strength of desire as I attempt to reconnect with all I had previously avoided. From this yearning to go back in time and share in the past, I have reconstructed myself as part of a place I am not familiarized with. A personal narrative is formed that speaks to the continuation of culture and spirit as well as people and places. These people are not lost despite my displacement.
My aim was not to recreate a dream, but to recreate the abruptness and disappointment that sometimes accompanies it upon awakening and the questioning that continues upon stirring. And this is where Changing Places arose, from my sleep. I experience the quiet beauty of the riverbank where I stand patiently as my grandfather makes his way around the bend in the dirt road towards me. I stand there beside my grandmother, watching and waiting, smiling and eager, teary-eyed and overcome as he returns to me, wraps his arms around me and whispers, "it's been too long." This is my beginning.
I introduce audio to prompt thoughts about the nature of individual and collective memories and their role in the formation of personal narratives. By including the Dene language, I've distanced myself further from these moments that my mother and aunt speak of. As they begin to recall moments and share stories, another barrier is created. By not understanding or speaking the Dene language, my lack of dialogue with my mother and aunt becomes another isloting factor. I am removed from the conversation as well as removed from sharing significant moments in their lives, moments that I yearn to be a part of.