Acrylic on Canvas
The Maxwell Settlement
For my Abstracts Based on Indigenous Perspectives class I was instructed to research an aboriginal artist. I had come across Eileen Napaltjaari and was inspired by the background story for the works that she had made. Inspiration I drew was the fact that she referred to her father’s birthplace in her body of work. Having grown up in the suburbs and now living in the city, I can’t say that I have ever really immersed myself in nature. The same goes for my mother, brother, and half sister. My dad however was born and raised in Bancroft, Ontario and spent the majority of his childhood at a property on a space of land named the Maxwell Settlement. What I found the most interesting about this was that my dad knows a lot about birds, gemstones and bugs, whereas I have little knowledge of them. My dad could pick up a gemstone and right away know the name of it. I asked my dad to name me three of his favourite birds, gemstones and bugs were and his favourite memory as a child growing up in this environment. I used the colours and shapes of the birds, bugs and gemstones that he picked. I used natural pigments such as turmeric, paprika, blueberries, cherries, beets, cinnamon and charcoal.
Birds: Robin,Bobolink, Hummingbird
Bugs: Cricket, Luna Moth, Dragonfly
Gemstones: Amazonite, Garnet, Sodalite
About the Maxwell Settlement:
When families were settling the northern areas of Hastings County of Ontario (where Bancroft is located) in the mid 1800s, the rural area in which they were granted or purchased land would often be named after the first family that settled there. In the case of the Maxwell Settlement, it was a family of Maxwell’s who built a farm in the valley first and then other families joined them in adjoining farms.
My Dad’s Favourite Memory:
"At the end of the school year, June, 1955 (at my finishing of grade two), we moved from the old tin (galvanized steel)-covered school house at Birds Creek to another slightly smaller abandoned tin-covered school house in the Maxwell Settlement. I remember the first day I was driven to the place that it was very hot and I was very excited that the new property and building were right across the road from a lake. There was a slight breeze and I could smell the water, the lily pads, the trees, the rich earth, the wild flowers, the grass, the dusty roadway—all at once, in exotically, intoxicatingly, overwhelming nose/lungs-full of humid, fecund air.
That sense/feeling of heat, humidity, smell and potential that arose in my skinny, seven-year-old mind and body, then—after I climbed out of the ’51 Ford and stood there breathing in the air—resonates with me to this day.”
They Don’t Know Yet
Marker & Pen on Paper