By Lori Beavis
Using the idea of grandmothers as teachers and memory holders I am exploring the idea of presence. I am asking people to come and join me at the Art Hive and bring one of their grandmother’s recipes. This might be a recipe that they made with their grandmother or one that she made for you. At the same time we will share the memories of our grandmothers and of cooking with her. The recipes will be left as a permanent marker of on-going presence.
Presence: the Grandmothers – I have taken the idea of the grandmothers as holders of memories. The stones that heat the Ojibway sweat lodge are often named as grandfather of grandmother. In Anishinaabe culture the grandmothers are the knowledge holders of language, customs and beliefs.
For this project I am thinking about the idea of the vestiges or remains of our heritages and of our identity and through this to how we self-identify. I also want to examine the idea of presence. How do we know or what do we know about the past from what we can see today, in the present? What did our grandmother tell us about our family heritage? How do we hold the knowledge of the past and keep the vestiges of what went before? Whose presence guides or informs us? What are the vestiges of our past family generations – in our lives? on the land?
To help answer some of these questions and establish a presence and an on-going presence (hidden or partially seen/known of). I am asking people to share memories of their grandmothers, as these memories are usually very tangible and immediate. One way of coming to these memories is by asking people to use their memories of cooking with their grandmothers as a way to enter into knowing who we are. I have started with recipes that I remember from my life with my grandmother, Laura Hannah Cowie Jones, a Mississauga woman from Rice Lake Ontario.
I am asking people to come and join me at the Art Hive and bring one of their grandmother’s recipes. This might be a recipe that they made with their grandmother or one that she made for you. At the same time we will share the memories of our grandmothers and of cooking with her. The recipes will be written on the wall of the studio space.
In time the wall will be covered up but I think this adds another layer to the idea of presence and ultimately, identities and how they move and change over time – but the knowledge that your grandmother gave you about who you are stays with you and there is always some hidden presence left.