An imposing three-dimensional map of Canada, created in painted fabric, emerges from the wall at Island Mountain Arts Public Gallery in Wells, B.C. Across the map runs a railway, and various elements that link people to the land.
Artist Clare Singleton’s exhibit, A Life for Land, explores an idea of holding onto the land at all costs, even as technology changes life for Canadians.
“That’s the story of our country. Linking people to the land is what has made our lives what they are today,” says Singleton.
“[It’s about] holding onto a way of life that we see fast disappearing in the north and in rural Canada in general.”
Singleton, who has been exhibiting for 30 years, worked on this most recent project for seven years, living and working the land in Endako B.C., a small community west of Fraser Lake.
“I’m trying to get a sense of how things are by living it, going in and helping with some pretty tough situations and getting on-location paintings.”
Singleton’s acrylic on canvas paintings depict Josef, a man she met in Endako, who logs on his own, to make enough money to survive on the land he loves.
“It’s the tenacity of a life that you are not going to give up on the land, because you’ve immigrated to this rich land of Canada…. I want to draw attention the tenacity of even our early immigrants. We’ve become so privileged and expect so much today. Getting back to the basics isn’t such a bad thing for us to remember,” explains Singleton.
“I think this is what founded the Cariboo region. The capitalist culture of today, people have been called to money more than the dream. I want to draw attention to the dream, that we need that underpinning.”
A Life for Land is on at Island Mountain Arts Public Gallery at 2323 Pooley Street in Wells, B.C. until June 17. Visit www.imarts.com for more details.