Like many western Newfoundland people who have only recently discovered their indigenous roots, Logan MacDonald is on a journey to know more about his cultural heritage.
The Corner Brook man is a member of the Mi’kmaq Qalipu First Nation Band. He is also a visual arts professor at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University and is using art to explore his understanding of the connection to the culture of his ancestors and how the Mi’kmaq of western Newfoundland fit in Canada’s indigenous community as a whole.
After recently travelling to various First Nation communities in other parts of Canada, MacDonald has put together an exhibition to embrace the cross-cultural experiences he has observed.
The art installation, titled "The Lay of the Land," opened at Eastern Edge Gallery in St. John’s Friday and will remain open there until Dec. 8. It documents methods some First Nation communities have employed to mark their borders against encroaching government and corporate forces on their land.
“I’m looking at how other communities have developed a physical strategy to keep their property or ownership of their land,” he said. “I was thinking of that as a parallel to our trying to re-engage with our cultural and ancestral Mi’kmaq identity here in Newfoundland.”
MacDonald insisted this is not an ethnography project. That’s why there are no people in the exhibition’s images, other than a few showing a part of him in them.
The exhibition also features a lyrical component that conveys MacDonald’s attempts to understand his own indigenous identity and is complemented by contributions from others from the Indigenous community.
According to the Eastern Edge Gallery website, responsive parallels between MacDonald’s research methodology and unfolding provincial events will be explored by curator Jason Penney through supplementary screenings and lectures.