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Art Unsettling

Unsettling myself: a five year art project

My dry pottery wheel slowly being covered by the pallets I am ripping apart for Tiny House cladding.

These past few months my art practice has been placed on hold while I have made very big changes in my personal life. Over the past four months, while “My Roots” have toured Brandon, Pinawa and Neepawa, I have started a business, left my marriage, and am now planing to build a Tiny House that I can live in while I divest myself of land ownership and question everything.

Art has the power to transform a person. I knew this before I started on “My Roots” but I really didn’t know. I had no idea just how powerful surfacing personal narrative was, let alone what it would mean for me.

In my Brandon performance, where I broke open the closed vessel in order to access my print “narrative fragments” I could feel the power of the metaphor each time I slammed the ceramic pot on the floor and the ground shook. I felt like it was my own soul that was breaking open.

You can see the performance if you follow the link attached to this video.

I planned this performnace as a metaphor about my decision to say my childhood experiences outloud through narrative and visual art. I thought about how telling personal narrative and owning your experience publically sometimes requires you to break unspoken rules. In my performance it was only by breaking the vessel that I could access my narrative.

What I didn’t realize, was that those same structures that contained my childhood and young adult life were also holding together my personal adult life. When I shattered the vessel I gained access to a self I feel like I have never met. Someone who is unbound, a bit wild, and with great capacity of inhabiting unsettling spaces.

In my 5 year art project I am embarking on I intend to live in an off grid Tiny House on land I do not own. I will explore my relationship to land as something that cannot be owned. I will ask how my relationship to the structures that “own” the land I inhabit shape my relationship to self, land, and community.

For my art practice I will install a moveable shed which will be my seasonal studio. I will be working with clay, print and photography to explore the topics.

If you’re interested in this project you can follow the process behind it on a blog I have started: https://alittleunsettling.wordpress.com/

In the meantime I hope to pick up my practice again, finish My Roots by May, and begin my new body of work I am calling “A Little Unsettling.”

Maybe I’ll even make a mug or two.

Probably not.

By alexandraross

I am a contemporary artist in rural Manitoba.

2 replies on “Unsettling myself: a five year art project”

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