Oakville Galleries, Gairlock Gardens

This is my first week living at the artist residency flat on the third floor of the Oakville Galleries in Gairloch Gardens site. The first step was to figure out a plan for exploration of the area. Armed with maps and books, the process began.

Tuesday evening is my artist talk. I plan on a surprise at the end of my talk by having the people who attend, pose with my toy Indian figure. I also pose the Indian outside the gallery the next day. Although I'm unsure how much evidence of an Aboriginal past I will find in the area, I have brought my toy Indian figures. This is a new component to my work. I use the figures to mark sites I visit. The idea for use of toy Indians emerged from two sources.

When I began the Scouting for Indians project I was interested in illuminating the way in which Aboriginal people have been remembered. Quite often this has led to sites that have marginalised the Aboriginal past and other times made caricatures of Indians. But the sources for this project were limited and my feelings about the contemporary world were not confined to just finding Aboriginal content places to photograph. I began to address the void in 1984 by posing my son Bear in various and often ironic urban situations. This led to the series The Bear Portraits.

My son was not always around to be photographed and I needed a new means of addressing invisibility. This is when I began looking for a way to imprint the sites photographed and used historical markers or plaques as a model. Quite often a historical plaque only refers to what had been there before. I reasoned that I could make my own plaque and this led to a new body of work titled Plaquing.

The first site to visit and photograph is the Town of Oakville Information Station at the intersection of Thomas and Randall streets. Ironically, the Information Station is just down the street from the Bank of Montreal. The kiosk was very helpful in providing information about the local Aboriginal history, going back in time, thousands of years, up to the early nineteenth century and the Mississauga settlement at Port Credit.

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