Mining histories, personal stories and environmental legacies emerge in an exhibition opening June 26 at the CBU Art Gallery. Mining Legacies incorporates a variety of artistic styles and approaches to explore the impact of mining on our community. This multi-generational exhibition reflects on the history of mining and looks at the legacies of the industry in Cape Breton today.
Mining Legacies developed out of a community workshop with by Ontario-based artists Gary Blundell and Victoria Ward held in July 2014. In collaboration with the CBU Art Gallery and the Glace Bay Miners’ Museum, the workshop engaged local community members in exploring their own mining-related histories. Following the workshop, Blundell and Ward kept in touch with those participants who elected to produce projects for the upcoming exhibition, and to share their own progress in building a body of work in response to their time in Cape Breton.
Participants in the Mining Legacies exhibition range in age from their mid-twenties to their mid-sixties and have created works in response to personal and social histories, artefacts and environmental legacies of the mining industry. Artists in the exhibition include: Louise Barkhouse, Gary Blundell, Kenny Boone, John Gainer, Anne Latour, Amanda MacAulay, Carole MacDonald, Sara Roth, David P Stephens and Victoria Ward.
John Mathews, Gallery and Collections Technician, shares some insight into the exhibition, “The show represents a unique opportunity to visually explore the history and legacy of mining in Cape Breton. The exhibition brings together drawing, painting, textiles, new media and installation work in order to identify the deep emotional impact of mining in our community. It’s an interesting way to revisit the past and recognise how the industry has shaped the place we live in today.”
As a counterpoint to Mining Legacies, Heather Sparling’s exhibit, Canary in the Mine will be on display in the Gallery Lounge. The interactive exhibit explores how songs document a history of mining disasters, their ability to tell how disasters affect families and communities, the impact of the news media and music industry on disaster songs and the significance of benefit and anniversary concerts.
The opening reception for Mining Legacies takes place on Friday, June 26 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The gallery will offer a variety of public programs related to the exhibition, beginning with an informal artist talk by community artists and visiting artists Blundell and Ward, Saturday, June 27 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. All programs take place at the CBU Art Gallery, are open to the public and free of charge.