My life is inherently tied to the artistic dialects I speak, and each project is an autobiographical albeit elastic response to place, action or community. In 2015 I moved back to Winnipeg after eight years in the US, to live with my 88 yr. old mother. The Response? The Recipe Project – A new body of work that will be the third in a trilogy of watershed pieces around food that began in 2007 with the video Hybred and continued with the video Don’t Go Away in 2011.
I grew up in a French-Canadian family restaurant business in Winnipeg around professional chefs. I am one of the few not working for the business however, I have been unable to escape the metaphor of food as more than a nutritional means to an end, nor deny it as the primary filter in my upbringing. Cooking, giving and serving/eating is the language in which my family speaks. Deaths, births, celebrations and tragedies, are all ‘felt and communicated’ through the making and sharing of food in our house, and the reverberations of this have become a growing influence whether I want it to be or not. I began to pose this question to older women I connected with, participants including my own mother and Metis biological mother…”if you could only have one food item served at your own funeral, what would it be?”
One’s “last” choice speaks volumes around tradition, identity/ethnicity, upbringing, experiences and requires one to consider how they would wish to be represented and remembered, in essence, how they see/saw themselves in life. Transformations occurred from an edible ingredients into bronze, brass and stainless steel sculptures that now hold the commemorative weight and texture of a life within them. These coupled with customized Portrait Totems comprised of second-hand store items and images of various making/prepping processes, The Recipe Project specifically maps the pragmatics of “passage” and how we process death through rituals around the preparation and preservation of one’s “lastness’’.