October 07, 2018
WAR - A Personal Response IMMIGRATION AND SETTLING
Another one of my pieces that will be in the WAR exhibit in Sidney, BC from
October 16 through November 29th, 2018.
Title: Immigration and Settling
Size: 30” x 32”
Materials: deconstructed linen shirt, silk and cotton threads
Techniques: hand and machine embroidery
Early in the 20th century, eastern Europe was in turmoil, and the Ukraine was
no exception. Yearning for a better future, many were entranced by accounts of
vilni zemli, free land, in Canada - for $10 and 3 years' labour, plus $150 for boat
passage, enterprising immigrants could gain title to160 acres. What was
unknown to them was the viability of the land on offer, the severity of the climate
they would encounter, and the hardships that awaited them.
Our family arrived in northern Alberta because a fellow villager homesteaded and
wrote home to say "Come on over!" So most of the village did, leaving behind
everything familiar, with not much more than the shirts on their backs, some seed
in their pockets, and a belief that life would be better.
This piece, with its long neat rows of script, is the dream of a new and prosperous
farm, built with sweat equity and the support of the community they would weave
with their fellow settlers.
Display will include a binder of the written text to read about the stories of the emigration
in terms of the journey, the role of the church for mental support, and the settling onto
new Crown farmland with all the work that entailed.