Jeannie Mah will be doing a live chat with Curator Tak Pham during the MacKenzie Art Gallery’s Virtual Opening of HUMAN CAPITAL on Thursday Dec 17 at 7 pm. Join us on the MacKenzie’s Facebook or YouTube accounts!
TRAIN: les ARRIVÉes is an imaginary train journey through history, across Saskatchewan. With family photos of my dad and me at the Willingdon Grocery in Regina, my swimmer pal Lily Tingley’s family at the Broadway Café in Yorkton, and the almost deserted village of Consul, where my father, at age 14, went to school for one year, we traverse Saskatchewan from west to east.
The passenger train, which once connected us from coast to coast, from town to town, from city to beach, has almost vanished, and the labour and lives lost in the construction of the railway seem to have been sacrificed for nothing. From the Last Spike of 1886 to the demise of the passenger train in 1990, we were unable to maintain our national dream for more than 104 years, despite the human cost of the construction of the railway and our nation.
While the video is a delicate present, and the porcelain journey across Saskatchewan is a faded recent “past-present”, the persistent arrival of the train is in contrast to the still images frozen on porcelain, witnesses to the slow disappearance of lives once lived, and the changes to cities and villages, and to lost modes of transportation. Lives remembered, lives sacrificed, lives forgotten.
Travelling towards infinity is at once a moment of departure always in movement towards arrival, just as immigration is a movement between home and away. This continual arrival and departure of presence and memory, of a “coming and going” within the exhibition space, forms the inner cinema of our lives, because of the persistence of memory and vision, of culture and landscape.
Human Capital: MacKenzie Art Gallery. Regina. Dec 17th to April 18th.
TRAIN: les ARRIVÉes was a 2013 solo exhibition at the Godfrey Dean Gallery in Yorkton, initiated by director Don Stein (who I thank for the train video!), reconfigured for this exhibition space.
Find out more HERE.