The Loss and Reclamation of Faith is an ongoing series which deals with the precarious state of the Canadian (or Quebecois) identity. Through a variety of factors, including increased immigration and the advancement of communication technology, the lines that once etched out who we are have been washed away by a sea of questions regarding the value of nationalism and religion and the responsibilities of the global citizen. We live in a time when the magnitude of historical events can barely be established considering the amount of information, both relevant and frivolous, that is hurled at us every moment. In reflection, we often experience doubt over what can be included in our own histories. My goal is to create an accessible and contemplative environment in which viewers can meditate on their role against an increasingly complex and volatile backdrop. I do this by constructing narratives based on news bulletins and historical facts which I feel are pertinent to all Canadians, as well as personal experiences which lend intimacy to the work. Through drawings and hand-sewn soft sculptures installed as hanging, wall and floor elements, the environment is reminiscent of a dreamscape, where events decades in the past coexist with those plucked from current headlines. In this densely crowded space, it is my intention for viewers to feel as though they have been given a kind of permission to engage with the events represented in a way that would otherwise be denied to them.
As a Montrealer whose family emigrated from India in the early 80s, the duality of my cultural background has maintained as a crucial inspiration in my practice. In a broad sense my work has evolved into an investigation of ownership in terms of identity. It does not only deal with seizing control over who we are, but it also examines the circumstances in which we relinquish that control. It is about erecting characters and backdrops which reveal, mislead and build towards a golden moment when viewers realize their role in shaping, supporting or suppressing those around them. By presenting specific investigations into both personal and broader historical events, I hope to encourage a more critical understanding of how we form as individuals and how we function as a society. Presently, my work manifests itself in graphic illustration and soft sculpture, two mediums whose accessible exteriors lend themselves well to subversive acts.
Participating Artists: Mona Sharma (Montréal)
Credits: Image: Mona Sharma, Air India (detail), 2010