Agriculture, Environment, Land, Food, Planning, Sustainability Archives - Page 5 of 5 - Peter Sibbald's Blog About Photography and Filmmaking

Exhibition opening last night

Well, after nearly seven weeks of intensive night and day scrambling, agonizing over edits, writing and re-writing my statement for what seems like the 110th time in 10 years, unlearning and relearning Photoshop, driving my friends at Elevator Digital *(thanks Bob & Kevin, and Rinath) crazy, my little installation launched last night as part of Architecture At Harbourfronts Winter 2009 exhibit, Building on History. Great job Pat, Marlee and Carly and all the crew.

Here are a few quick snaps from that opening reception:

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Statement (Short): Elegy for a Stolen Land

Forced by food shortages to emigrate, six generations ago my Scottish ancestors settled in Southern Ontario, a rich, natural environment that for millennia, and until not long before, had been homeland to successive waves of First Peoples.

When moving home after years in cities to raise a seventh generation in that same place I’d been raised, the sheer rapaciousness of human activity in Ontario’s countryside – the naked erasures of heritage, and our diminishing capacity for a secure local food supply– got me thinking about changes in the meaning of land.

How does one document shifting occupation? What is the distance from “earth mother” to “real estate”, and what evidence remains of aboriginal cosmologies or European animistic traditions, and colonial history? What are the implications for power over the cultural interpretation of land-human relationships imposed by such terms as “land use”? Which ways of thinking and being in relation to land are most suitable to sustaining life?


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Exhibition: An Open Opening Invitiation


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Exhibition Announcement

Markham, Ontario   43°54'28.78"N  79°14'59.11"W, facing South-Southeast, circa May 21, 2004  Tracks of heavy equipment carved into the muddy subsoil on the former James and Adam Clendenen family farms, during its development into a suburban subdivision of roughly 2,500 homes.

Six weeks ago I learned that I had been granted a last minute exhibition opportunity at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, opening January 23, a little less than 3 weeks from now. Since then I’ve been madly preparing for this show and likely will be working right to the bell, and so have had little time for anything else. (Normally one might have 6 months or more of warning to prepare…).

Entitled “Elegy for  Stolen Land”, my installation is the latest incarnation of a body of work that began photographing in 2000 which documents the rapid and radical changes humans have been making to land in Southern Ontario. My installation is part of an exhibition called Building on History in the Architecture at Harbourfront Centre gallery space that examines the consideration of history in architectural design. In a sense, I suppose my contribution to this enterprise is to act as a foil, showing what happens—as has been the case throughout much of North America during the past 60 years—when history has been utterly ignored.

The Public Opening Reception is Friday January 23, 2009 from 6 – 10 p.m., in and around the York Quay Centre, 235 Queens Quay West , and is part of the giant opening festivities (ten exhibitions in all) at the Admission is Free. And bring your skates!

For more information:,


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