Between the Two Rows

An enormous new art project is being created by Brantford’s Dave Hind and the Aluminum Quilting Society (AQS). “Between the Two Rows” is a community mural that examines personal identity, cultural boundaries, and the importance of building relationships between cultures through communication and collaboration.  The central composition and imagery is based on the symbolism of the Two Row Wampum which was a 17th century peace agreement between the Haudenosaunee and the European settlers. Two boats moving side by side on the river in peace and friendship. One boat carries the Haudenosaunee people, their language, and their law…while the other boat carries the Europeans with their cultural beliefs and traditions. Neither boat will interfere with the other. It also speaks of how people will want to move from one boat to the other, and how that when the waters become rough, standing with one foot in each boat is a precarious place to be.

The finished piece will be 10 feet high by over 20 feet long. Participants are asked to reflect on their identity (who you are and where you came from) and contribute a portrait, a symbol, or a piece of writing that is important and meaningful to how they see themselves. This contribution will be placed into one of the boats, or between the boats, or perhaps new boats will have to be added.

At the Glenhyrst Coach House in January, Dave Hind and company worked with groups from three of the area high schools, and in February at a local elementary school.  Participants from Immigrant Settlement Services have taken part and made pieces to add to the assemblage.   Each session has engaged the participants in discussions about how they fit into this land – how they arrived here, how they identify themselves culturally.  Local artists were also invited to contribute to the piece at an evening session at the Coach House.

Passengers in the canoe and other elements, including large figures, will come from first nations groups in the area, including schools and individual artists.  There will also be ‘open’ studio sessions held at the Art Gallery of Hamilton in February and March that will allow interested artists to participate.

Dave Hind works on making tools used to etch the aluminum. Photo: Dean Ellis

Once all of the contributions have been amassed, the AQS will set to task in finishing the final piece.  There are many hours spent in grinding  images and then placing them with rivets into a well chosen spot.  The finished piece will be moved in sections to the gallery in Hamilton to be featured in an upcoming exhibition.

The show titled Navigating Progress will  be on display at the Art Gallery of Hamilton April- September 2019. The exhibition will feature works by  William George Richardson Hind (1833-1889) who was Dave Hind’s great great great Uncle, and a notable Canadian painter. He accompanied his brother (Dave’s great great grandfather) Henry Youle Hind on several land surveying expeditions into unsettled areas of soon to be Canada. In this way Dave’s family was instrumental in colonizing certain areas of this country. Simon Frank has curated a series of exhibitions with galleries that have William’s work in their collection. These works will be shown along side work that Dave will produce in response to William’s. The work in the Art Gallery of Hamilton’s collection is primarily from an expedition on the Moisie river in Labrador through Naskapi and Montagnais territories.

collage by Dean Ellis

Members of the Aluminum Quilting Society (AQS) range in age from 5-75 (as of this point), and employ techniques for up-cycling scrap aluminum siding and extrusion. China markers and pencils are used to draw and write on the found, coloured sheet metal. Small rotary hand tools and engravers are used to etch the drawings, which are then cut into shapes, collaged together with rivets, and polished with bees wax. The AQS is an ever evolving, open-membered, design/fabrication collective which embraces the co-operative, hands-on , resourceful spirit of the quilting bee. Their goal is to create meaningful community strengthening projects around themes of ecology, history, self-discovery, healing, and social justice.  Their most recent piece is titled Le Landscape de Kanata, and is displayed prominently on the side of the Brantford Public Library as a tribute to Lawren Harris and his place in our local heritage. 


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