PAST Exhibition - Traditioning by Ocean Mussack - June 6 - July 4, 2022
OPENING RECEPTION: Friday June 10th - 6pm-8pm Vino & Appy's will be served! Come out and meet the sculptor Ocean Mussack.
Much of our experience is influenced by our inheritance but how do we understand our ancestry? My family history is veiled in silence and mystery. I was raised in a Ukranian-Canadian farming community in Alberta. I knew my mother’s family name had been changed from Farus to Farris, to disguise our Ukranian-ness, but it wasn’t until I recently learned about the history of the internment of Ukranian-Canadians that I realized just how badly they needed the disguise. We were a family that didn’t talk about the important things – was that a survival tactic? What stories went untold? This collection is the product of my early attempts to honour and engage with my ancestral inheritance. This piecing together of traces of family history is what I’m calling an act of traditioning.
Working all day to earn a living and feed the family, in spare moments fastening new tools or repairing old ones, a Farus could almost always be found working. Living in a nation-state that was more hostile than supportive, total self-reliance was the only option. Was their tremendous physical strength born of this need – an adaptation? The creativity shown in their craftsmanship – and the resilience in their resourcefulness – I witnessed these alongside much unspoken suffering.
Recalling my grandparents’ endless routine chores, I was inspired to recreate Baba’s Washboard and Gido’s Grain Shovel. And amidst all the work and hardship, there were moments of rest and even celebration: Diborja! (Ukranian for cheers), is a recreation of the whisky glasses they drank from.
I feel propelled to engage with this legacy as if unseen ancestors are urging me on. The Shadow Boards are a cast of figures who’ve been surrounding me, persistent in their presence, yet vague in their truth. I can only continue to engage and discover.
- Ocean Mussack