“INTRODUCTION” TO M.E. A PORTRAYAL OF EMILY CARR

To M.E. A Portrayal of Emily Carr written by Edythe Hembroff-Schleicher, Mother Tongue (Feb. 15 2014).

M.E. A Portrayal of Emily Carr is a rare and moving study of an artist’s struggle against despair and loneliness and an intimate portrayal of the close friendship between Edythe and Emily. The two artists were good friends and met not long after Edythe had returned from Paris where she had studied art. Written as a friendly appreciation of the character of Emily Carr, rather than her life, Edythe Hembroff-Schleicher's rendering was described in reviews of the time as "a fond memoir, well-written, a modest and excellent little book, throws new light on her methods of painting and describes the humourous adventures of camping with Emily Carr.” It also contains edited versions of 20 letters written by Carr to her friend, and the cover features a rare painting of Carr recently discovered. M.E. was first published in 1969 and has been out of print for years.

Susan Crean wrote the introduction to the book.

“BOTH SIDES NOW: DESIGNING WHITE MEN AND THE OTHER SIDE OF HISTORY”

In Response, Responsibility, and Renewal — Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Journey. Eds., Gregory Young-Ing, et al. Ottawa, Aboriginal Healing Foundation, 2009.

"Along with the narrative about the founding of Canada by both the French and the English came the notion—preached by the likes of Emily Carr and Marius Barbeau, as well as D.C. Scott—of Aboriginal culture constituting Canada’s ancient past, the prehistory upon which the modern nation could be built and with which an authentic Canadian culture could be fashioned.... The story of Canada I was raised on, thus, denied the connection between assimilation and appropriation, between the past and the present."

For several years I worked on the issue of Traditional Knowledge with Greg Young-Ing who was a founding co-chair of the Creator’s Right’s Alliance in 2002 along with Michel Beauchemin and me (representing respectively Indigenous Peoples, Quebec and Canada). Greg was an editor of the second volume of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s anthology called Response, Responsibility, and Renewal — Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Journey, and following a conversation we had in Toronto about the non-involvement of Canadians who are not directly implicated in the residential school tragedy (ie. the State, the churches, the victims, and the individual perpetrators of abuse who happened to get caught) he suggested I write something. The third volume looks at “Cultivating Canada — Reconciliation through the lens of Cultural Diversity" and also makes the point that reconciliation is everyone’s business.

Download a PDF version of the essay "Both Sides Now: Designing White Men and the Other Side of History."

THE PRESENTATION OF SELF IN EMILY CARR’S WRITINGS

In Emily Carr: New Perspectives on a Canadian Icon. Curators, Charles C. Hill, et al. Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 2006.

"Sophie Frank was an artist and a thinker and, in spite of her life circumstances, she continued to create many beautiful weavings. She maintained a long friendship with Emily Carr. A thirty year relationship between women is never devoid of personal thoughts and conversations about love,work,and tragedies. Sophie would have shared her cultural knowledge and many of her insights on art with a woman whom she was so fond of, a woman who would nevertheless go on to demean and primitivize her existence after her death."

I wrote this essay with Shirley Bear for the exhibition Emily Carr: New Perspectives on a Canadian Icon organized by the National Gallery and the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2006. It is based on a performance piece Shirley and I created together called Dear Emily / Dear Sophie about Salish basket maker Sophie Frank and her long time friend Emily Carr using correspondence between the two women we discovered in the archives in Victoria. We presented it at the VAG when the redesigned Carr galleries were opened in 1996. The piece was billed as “a contemporary dialogue about art, appropriation and friendship”. It was later performed and the Royal B.C. Museum in Victoria, and Emily Carr College of Art in Vancouver.

Download a PDF version of  the essay “The Presentation of Self in Emily Carr’s Writings.” Buy a copy of Emily Carr: New Perspective on a Canadian Icon here.

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