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Friday evening April 25 was the opening reception for The Sisterhood of Longing and The Memory Rooms at The Jackson Power Gallery in Edmonton, AB. It was a lovely evening with many well wishers and art lovers in attendance.

Here are a few photos of the quiet of the exhibit before the opening. The gallery has six rooms. My exhibit, The Sisterhood of Longing, was in the first and last rooms.

IMG_1932Marlena Wyman in front of two of her paintings

IMG_1864The Sisterhood of Longing exhibit artworks by Marlena Wyman

Travelling back to the last room in the gallery, we find my visual and sound installation.

IMG_1840We Were Here by Marlena Wyman Three dimensional mixed media: Photo transfers on vintage flour bags, vintage objects, egg shells, and seed pods. Flour bags were owned by my late Aunt June Majcher.

The archival photographs for the image transfers on the flour bags were selected specifically for their deterioration and obscuring of the women’s faces in the photographs, symbolic of the obscuring of women’s contributions to the mainstream historical record of settlement.

Deterioration in the photographs includes mold, silvering out, stains, fading, emulsion lifting and cracking. Thanks to the various Alberta archives and staff for helping me locate these photos.

There are many women’s letters and diaries such as the following that speak of the lives an under-appreciated contributions of early prairie women:

By now I realize that this is essentially a man’s country and that a woman has practically to sink her own identity and take on her husband’s interests.     Quote from Monika Hopkins’ letter to her friend Gill, [September 1909]. Monika came to the Priddis, Alberta area from England in 1909.   Letters: Glenbow Archives M 536;M 5951;M 6189

When the pioneer woman hurried through her own work, and then walked across the snowy field with three loaves of bread and her last jar of preserves to minister to her sick neighbor and stayed to clean the house, wash the children, and cook a meal, she laid the foundation for the Victorian Order of Nurses, and the Women’s Institutes…the great and powerful Ladies Aid and Missionary Societies whose splendid activities each year would fill many volumes.     Quote from Nellie McClung’s manuscript. Nellie came to Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1911 from her family’s farm near Brandon, Manitoba, and then to Edmonton, Alberta in 1914.    British Columbia Archives MS-0010; 98307-1

This is a video of my art and sound installation We Were Here.  

The other three rooms in the gallery embodied The Memory Rooms, for which I served as curator. Three young Edmonton artists each interpreted the theme of memory in their room.

The first Memory Room was interpreted by Patrick Arès-Pilon.

IMG_1900-001Patrick Arès-Pilon in his Memory Room of Hélène Courteau née Hudon. This room celebrates the memory and photography of Patrick’s great-grandmother. 

IMG_1872IMG_1873Patrick Arès-Pilon: The Memory Room of Hélène Courteau née Hudon

The second Memory Room was interpreted by Caitlin Sian Richards.

Caitlin's memory roomCaitlin Sian Richards in her Memory Room of Family Folklore:”brass knuckles”. Caitlin’s Memory Room consisted of family portraits that she painted from her ancestral photographs. Photo by Alex Labarda.

IMG_1879IMG_1882Caitlin Sian Richards‘ Memory Room of Family Folklore:”brass knuckles”

The third Memory Room was interpreted by Mallory Gemmel. Mallory interpreted her Memory Room as family through her contemporary photographs of her mother and father and the memories of places that she had visited with them.

IMG_1926-003Mallory Gemmel in her Memory RoomIMG_1886



IMG_1889Mallory Gemmel‘s Memory Room. 

The Vocal Improvisation Network of Edmonton Choir (VINE Choir) created a beautiful and touching improvisational performance at the opening. This is a video excerpt from their performance. I also commissioned VINE to record a soundscape that plays on a loop in The Sisterhood of Longing  gallery; a strong and thoughtful accompaniment to the exhibit.

The exhibit continues until May 4, 2014. A closing reception will be held Saturday May 3 from 4PM to 7PM, featuring the sound performance Lattice by Dave Wall at 5PM. Dave’s work is primarily about memory, and he is currently working on a doctorate in composition, exploring computer technology and using music and sound along with recordings of his late father’s voice in his premier performance of Lattice.

Dave Wall

Dave Wall

Jackson Power Gallery 9754 – 60 Avenue Edmonton, AB

Exhibit hours are noon to 4PM Thursday through Sunday May 1st to 4th

Posted by Marlena Wyman