Small rural communities that have depended upon fishing in the past are facing declining population bases and are struggling to define new directions for the future. They live in the shadow of large cosmopolitan cities but are still bound to rural history and traditions. During the BEACH workshops interdisciplinary art provided a structure to explore the knowledge, talent and interconnectivity of rural and coastal communities to our surroundings, and we believe this is key to reviving cultural development.
Using materials gathered from the beach including detritus, shells and beach glass, participants created compositions that together formed a stained glass window that was installed in our local community centre. Working with glass had a symbolic significance as fire and sand together form glass and glass is used in all areas of our culture from bottles to cell phones.
Working with artist Rosemary Metz we designed ceramic tiles with symbols that represented a personal narrative about living by the sea. Some of these stories were documented in video, see below, to watch Phyllis Blades and Bruce Blades narratives.
International storyteller Elinor Benjamin visited the group and told the Mi’kmaq story of Glooskap.
We were also visited by Wayne Thomas, a longtime resident of Terence Bay, who brought photos and the blue prints of the Terence Bay Lighthouse. Wayne’s family members were the lighthouse keepers and his great – great grandfather was given a grant of 50 acres for the land around the lighthouse from Queen Victoria. His great grandfather deeded the land on which the lighthouse was built. He remains an active member of the Terence Bay Lighthouse preservation committee and encourages local participation in its preservation.
In order to reflect upon the distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features of our shorelines we gathered for an afternoon of art, music and ecology by the lighthouse of Sandy Cove Beach, Terence Bay. Together we made a giant 21 foot cyanotype sunprint on silk and created a site specific sculpture on the tidal zone. Singer Michelle Forrest sang her song The Light at Terence Bay. Sally Wright, principal flute, NB Symphony played a wooden aboriginal flute. Rosmarie Lohnes spoke about the ecology of the seashore. Her company Helping Nature Heal Inc. supports environmental, economic, and community resilience as a leading-edge ecological landscaping company. Kristy Depper (Digging Pixels/Centre For Art Tapes) photographed the events and created a time lapse animation of the tidal zone installation.
Ariella Pahlke & Melinda Spooner