KRAÏNA: i am the land
"A man is nothing but the landscape of his homeland." Shaul Tchernichovsky.
I am a descendant of immigrants who came to Canada from Ukraine in 1897. They were the backbone of the Canadian government’s immigration program aimed at settling Western Canada. A $10.00 filing fee bought them 160 acres of land – a dream come true. This is our story ...
KRAÏNA, Slavic for land, gives form to an ‘imagined geography’ where time, identity, history and abstract spiritual concepts are blurred. My relationship with the land and the meaning that my life derives from it are echoes that prevail. The fragility of human existence and the role of the photograph in provoking an inquiry by the viewer are central to the series.
Reworked and reprocessed deteriorating and damaged photographs - found in an inherited and much contested family photo album - are the keystone. Like ghosts of the past they are meant to provoke the seer’s imagination and inquiry. Their almost translucent black and white presence - tinged with ochre and cinnabar from years of neglect – defines the series’ moody, dreamy and muted palette. They are intermingled with painted images which heighten the sense of an 'other worldly space'.
Vast uninterrupted vignettes of the icy Canadian prairies - spaces where scale and distance are difficult to gage – follow. A black-robed incarnation of destiny - the keystone of KRAÏNA - weaves her way throughout the series. Walking barefoot - as her ancestors did when they arrived in Canada - she appears like the mother thread of life - life where death is always present. This was the reality of the early immigrants.
KRAÏNA spurs an exploration of loss, shifting identity, and culture issues of global significance as we make our way through contemporary debates on immigration.