This project is about connecting to my First Nation roots. Tools have been crucial to man's survival. The easel is such a tool. A holder, carrier of the artist canvas, a sculpture built upon triangles, a very strong structure, mathematically astounding. The First Nations used this structure to shield them from the elements at the same time it was decorated with stories of its inhabitants. It's practical applications were easy to comprehend. Tear down and erecting were easy and allowed them to follow their needs. When I built this easel I had the feeling of the teepee, my home, my safe place. My art is a safe place for me. When I need to change, I do, it is a form of migration. Migration because I need to change to survive, to keep moving forward....
Rocks are migratory beings. Glaciers, streams, rivers moved them to their new spots. This process is sometimes slow extending through the millennia depending on which forces are exerted. The stones in my art piece represent my ancestors. They were migratory, moving only when needed, when forced, planting themselves in a new place to ease their survival. The stones are attached to the easel with paper cord strings. When the elements exert their forces the stones will find their new place. They're decorated with paper to represent corn husks, a First Nations cultivated sustenance important to their diets. As art sustains me, I must keep planting to survive and grow.
The colors I have chosen are red, white and black. First Nations people made them by using natural elements at their disposal. For example, black came from burnt coals. I have chosen these as they were often used in ceremonies and as war paint to decorate their faces and bodies. The art of war or should I say the war of art makes sense to me. I must be fearless and ready to fight to accomplish my art. During my installation I will be dressed in black. As I paint the easel, my refuge, I will paint myself. I will become part of the art piece in my new spot. The painting of the structure and my body will represent my stories, my exploits as my art makes me migrate. This journey, along with my ancestors, continues forward, finding new places to ease my survival, our survival.
Edmond Léger 2017