Aoskway - The Moose
Acrylic on Wood Panel
40” x 30”
In this painting by Canadian Artist Brandon Steen we see a bull moose walking south along Sherbourne Street, symbolic that at one time moose walked in great numbers throughout Toronto.
In VANISHED a series of six paintings named in the Wendat language, I explore the negative impact we humans have made in relation to the environment where we find Toronto today. All the creatures in these six paintings the moose (aoskway), great grey owl (yo'hko), bear (yänionnyen) white tailed deer (ohskënonton'), Algonquin wolves (yänariskwa) and the beaver (tsou'tayi) have either vanished from Toronto or only seen under controlled circumstances by humans. By juxtaposing the birds and animals to Toronto today, I hope to create a impact that inspires people to be more mindful and present as they live out their lives in Toronto. Knowing that our human footprint is a heavy one, may you look up from your phones and take in the beauty of our flora and fauna that scratches out their existence with us today.
This summer we all witnessed the Canada 150 celebrations and most celebrated. I love my country but was left with mixed feelings due to the fact that by celebrating only 150 years we ignore the other 14,850 years that our indigenous peoples walked this land. This led me to research the first settlements on the north shore of Lake Ontario where Toronto sits today, being the Wendat Nation. Due to significant wars with other tribes they have since disappeared from Toronto but at the time they lived in harmony with the natural world. That harmony is something that inspires me and perhaps you too will become inspired to be a little bit more of a steward towards our natural world.
This show is dedicated to a woman that impacted me greatly and was a friend to me for 25 years, my second Mum Frannie Holden who has vanished from our lives from a battle with cancer.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.