Kelowna From Away, 2020, Oil on Canvas, 30″x30″
Calabria From Above, 2020, Oil on Canvas, 30″x30″
These two works are part of an ongoing series exploring landscapes that have become a part of my heritage and my own personal past. I sought out to discover my ancestry and look at the landscapes my family has inhabited over time. The process was more of an exploration, as I began learning more about my family, I urged myself to look and learn through a decolonized lens. Beginning with looking at the land as my main focus. In my work I often paint portraits of people I idealize like family, friends, celebrities etc. So instead I wanted to paint portraits of the land.
As I gained more knowledge of a family lineage I had previously been oblivious too, I began to learn things and question how we came to be here in Canada. I began to think about how landscapes where developed and changed through time.
The first image depicts Calabria Italy, a small hillside town in the south of Italy where my family left to Canada from. Looking at the landscapes it’s fun to imagine where my family could have been had they not become settlers to Canada. The second image is where I grew up, in Kelowna BC. It’s a place I still recognize as my home. I had forgotten how spaced out the houses had been, how many houses had pools, how big the yards were and just how much space a small cul-de-sac eats up in newer cities like Kelowna.
There is a large discrepancy in land usage in each image. I noticed the different patterns of street, housing clumps, green spaces, etc. In my image of Kelowna much of the green land was part of someones property. The houses are spaced out and there is plenty of room for each individual household. The different modes of building are interesting in how we perceive land when composing neighbourhoods or cities. We can see a change in structure based on time. The landscape of Kelowna seems structured and precise, like a suburban dream for settlers. The neighbourhood was built before the people, whereas Calabria is a cluster of buildings and nonsensical roads that seem to have grown themselves as the city grew. Both Images, although similar in palette and style, appear to be very different worlds. Some of the structure is clouded by organic shapes and linear lines that were added as a visual aid in seeing how land would develop over top of these areas, showing a connecting structure through both paintings.
I wanted to play with general ideas of memory, division and land. In a way I wanted to remember these places and revisit them. I hope these places might remind you of somewhere, and that it reminds you to be conscious of the space we become apart of. I want the land to be important to the memories we keep and the history we inherit.