Essex – The John R. Park Homestead Conservation Area was honoured to welcome Métis artist Tracey-Mae Chambers to open her #hopeandhealingcanada art installation exhibit on August 29, 2022.
The #hopeandhealingcanada project created by Ms. Chambers consists of a series of site specific art installations across Canada. Each is made using crochet, knit, and woven red yarns. This ongoing body of work is used to illustrate connections between Indigenous, Inuit, and Métis peoples with Canadians, while also addressing the decolonization of public spaces. Once dismantled, the work will be returned to Ms. Chambers and will be reworked and repurposed at another site somewhere else in the country. The stories gathered from each participating venue will culminate in a book and traveling exhibition.
The John R. Park Homestead Conservation Area is an 1842 living history museum that interprets how life was lived during this pioneer period. “Over the last number of years and with significant guidance from valued partners, we’ve worked hard to tell a more full history of the site, and recognize the Original People who inhabited this site from time immemorial,” explained Tania Jobin, Chair of the Essex Region Conservation Authority. The John R. Park Homestead’s recently updated Strategic Plan identifies the importance of deconstructing colonialism in the museum space by building on Indigenous Voices and Representation, creating opportunities for access, input, and content curation by Indigenous voices and including Indigenous art, culture, stories, traditions, and knowledge into the interpretive narrative.
“We are so incredibly thankful to Ms. Chambers for selecting the John R. Park Homestead Conservation Area as one of her North-American locations for her acclaimed Hope and Healing Canada site-specific art installations,” Jobin goes on to say. “In the coming months, we hope to welcome many guests, including students of all ages, to view this remarkable art and to stimulate thoughtful conversation around our collective role in advancing Truth, Reconciliation, and de-colonization.”
Funding support for this exhibit at the John R. Park Homestead has been generously provided by Libro Credit Union. “As active community partner, Libro Credit Union is committed to building inclusive local economies that benefit all community members,” said Lori Atkinson, Regional Manager Windsor Essex. “We understand that the process of reconciliation includes learning about, recognizing and acknowledging the importance of Indigenous history, culture and language. We feel privileged to contribute to bringing this exhibit by Métis Artist Tracey-Mae Chambers to our region, to support her work and help spread her message.”
Tracey-Mae Chambers is a Métis artist and a member of the Métis Nation of Ontario. Her family is from, and some still reside, in the traditional Métis community in Sault Ste. Marie and Penetanguishene, Ontario. She is traveling across Canada and the United States creating site specific art installations at residential school historical sites, cultural centres, museums, art galleries and other public spaces. You can learn more at www.traceymae.com.
The #hopeandhealingcanada installation will be at the John R. Park Homestead until November 25th.
The John R. Park Homestead Conservation Area is located on the traditional territory of the Three Fires Confederacy of First Nations, comprised of the Ojibway, the Odawa, and the Potawatomie Peoples. To recognize the land is an expression of gratitude and appreciation to those whose territory you reside on, and a way of honouring the Indigenous people who have been living and working on the land from time immemorial.