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Baie Sainte-Marie

September 8, 2014

I am on the west side of Nova Scotia, on Baie Sainte-Marie, for a four week artist’s residency. I have been awarded use of second home, over looking the bay, generously offered up for artists-alumni of Maine College of Art who wish, or need, a respite from the hassles of daily life so that they can focus on their work.

My work, as of late, deals with developing a dialogue with specific places. Having only a vague notion of what I’d find here, my mission is to explore and learn about the landscape and the people who call this home. The region defines itself as Acadian, a culture defined by a people that originated from France, but who, historically, have been shoved back and forth between French and English Rule. After a while they just didn’t care any more and had no interest in the politics or wars that were dictated from thousands of miles away. “Arcadie,” the name used on early maps, means a land of beauty and tranquility; the Acadian way of life has come to mean a peaceful and free-spirited existence. Despite their neutrality, Acadians became the scapegoats in many of the French and English conflicts; they suffered deportations and worse for not claiming allegiance to the ruling party du jour. A map of the Acadian diaspora hanging in the over sized, open kitchen that is quickly becoming my seat of operations, looks like a tangle of yellow lines with arrows going back and forth across the Atlantic, between France and the Americas.

Although only about twenty percent of the people here make a living harvesting the natural resources of the land and sea, the culture is inextricably tied to the water. The ebb and flow of the tide–which varies by tens of feet—is evident miles inland as rivers reverse direction twice daily and bridges alternately kiss the water and then stand on spindly legs. A road map of Nova Scotia is simply a lasso of one or two lines that follow the shore. Tendrils of roads reach into the blank interior, fading as they leave the coast; life here is wedded to the coast. In my time here I will focus on this relationship and keep my eyes to the sea.

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waiting for the ferry in St. John

IMG_1572 work shot at Baie St MArie, Nova Scotia

Sunsets may be a worn cliche- but they do inspire a creative mood.

Sunsets may be a worn cliche- but they do inspire a creative mood.

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