lights camera sound actions | time-based contemporary art

The Grass Is Still Green (artist’s garden), 2016

alyssum, white stone
exhibited at Rodman Hall Art Centre, St. Catharines, ON, June 4 – August 21, 2016
Curator: Marcie Bronson
also part of the exhibition, The Grass Is Still Green, digital prints and text, and the video Walking the Talk

Click here for blog post about the community Planting Day and growing the plants.

Text of garden sign:
During the last twenty-five years, St. Catharines-based artist Elizabeth Chitty has explored ideas of place, frequently addressing issues of land ownership, governance, and treaties. In this artist’s garden, Chitty responds to the Two Row Wampum, the 1613 agreement between the Haudenosaunee and Europeans that outlines a commitment to friendship, peace between peoples, and living in parallel forever—as long as the grass is green, as long as the rivers flow downhill, and as long as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.

The garden was planted by the artist and youth from First Nations, settler, and new settler communities during a day of Haudenosaunee teachings, drumming and dancing, food, and art activities. Purple and white alyssum is laid out in a representation of the Two Row, with a path of white stone forming the central row. At this time of reconciliation, Chitty reminds us that we are all treaty people, and invites you to walk this path in contemplation of our role in honoring the Two Row Wampum.

As is related in the blog post, a teaching on the Two Row was delivered on Planting Day by Kelly Fran Davis (Heyote’dok).  This work was created from my conviction that as settlers, we have a responsibility to educate ourselves on the treaties governing Canada before and after Confederation. This work was created soon after the 400th Anniversary of the Two Row, here is a link to the page of the Two Row Renewal Campaign. Here is a link to an on-line teaching on the Two Row*.

It turned out the garden was planted in the year of the Niagara region’s driest 3½-month stretch in recorded history. Despite stellar care by Brock University’s Rodman Hall Art Centre groundskeepers, the garden suffered in the endless 32 degree heat. I found it fitting in a way, that the rows had holes in them and didn’t flower at times; the Two Row itself has certainly not been kept in good repair throughout the years.

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Photos by Marcie Bronson, Jimmy Limit and Elizabeth Chitty

*Thanks to Greg Staats for the recommendation of this video.

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