Installation by Vie Jones
Raymond Taavel Park
1004 Barrington Street, Halifax NS.
In this project I was asked by the NSCAD Queer Collective to respond to the newly formed LGBT+ Elder’s Archive. In my review of the archive I began to question the role archive serves as knowledge keeper and what histories are preserved. Where are the gaps, the blank spaces between the headlines? In the missing space is the daily lives of innumerable Queer experiences in a full spectrum of emotional pressure. I am drawn to the legacy of Raymond Taavel. In our stories we share common threads of the lands that raised us. I have never known Raymond or his family, yet I remember how as youthful queers the terror that planted itself in our brains. A reminder that to live life in the good way I know, is to negotiate safety in every step, to life as refuse. From the waters of Bawaating to the waters of Kji’puk’tuk, I would walk unknowingly in his footsteps even to the spot where his story ended.
I am navigating our relationship through land. Could that same land that nourishes us from the time we are born hold our stories? Our queerness?
I’ve made a garment, a ribbon shirt and skirt. The process is a labour of making, unmaking, mindfulness and ceremony. The two hold each other, and what is navigated is the space embodied by those notions of emptiness. To fill and take up space. Swaddled in notions of ourselves. Memories.