Forgotten Females of Salt Spring Island
Residency: January 8 to March 15, 2018
Exhibition: February 8 to 28, 2018
While in residency, I was interested in exploring the history of Salt Spring while also investigating what made the current island’s community drawn to the arts. Through research done at the Salt Spring Island Archives, I identified four female artists (Florence Walter, Sophie King, Jessie Beryl Weatherell, and Gwen Ruckle) who all were self-taught, lived on the island, and built communities on the island that continue today. This research is reflected in the publication, Forgotten Females of Salt Spring Island. Two more artists (Agnes Ruckle and Maud Lillian Weaver-Bridgman) were connected through community consultation.
The exhibition examined how these six women spearheaded a cultural movement that allowed Salt Spring Island to be an artistic destination of the West Coast. By telling these six women’s histories as well as teaching zine-making, Wikipedia-editing, and jam making workshops, I hoped to introduce Salt Spring Islanders to a different view of their history and traditions. These individual stories can easily swept aside by larger narratives, so by re-shaping narratives in small, but critical ways, different realities can be reflected.
In addition, to make the exhibition relevant to contemporary audiences, I interviewed 9 artists and arts administrators to explain how they have built communities on the island. These interviews are now available here through the Salt Spring Island Archives.