- July 13, 2015 – July 24, 2015
Galerie la Centrale in Montréal asked MAWA to select a Manitoban artist to come to Montréal for a two-week residency in performance and socially engaged practices, July 13-24, 2015. We are happy to announce that Monica Mercedes Martinez will be presenting I was here/J’étais ici, a ceramics-based intervention exploring landscape, identity and human migration. Martinez’s parents escaped the Chilean coup of the 1970s by coming to Canada. They were given the choice of settling in Saskatoon or Montréal, and chose the former. Martinez is interested in effects of such arbitrary choices, and the power of place to shape us.
Martinez will be mounting a three-part project designed to communicate with the public inside and outside of the gallery. She will leave hand-made clay tokens marked with I was here/J’étais ici in the gallery and the surrounding neighbourhood; she will make clay impressions of elements of the neighbourhood; and she will display traces and documents of these impressions in the gallery, and will ask the public to add their own stories of how the neighbourhood has made impressions on them.
La Centrale is a storefront in a busy shopping district. The street is not only the historical dividing line between French and English; it is a street along which many of the major immigrant communities that built Montréal grew and flourished. Congratulations Monica!
As a South American who grew up in the Canadian Prairies, Monica Mercedes Martinez uses her current practice to facilitate discussion about the historical foundations that we rely on to define who we are and where we belong. She also finds travel essential to my practice to expose herself to new landscapes, energies and approaches to materiality. She connects to the places she finds herself in by scavenging in her surroundings, finding objects and materials, which are then integrated into new works.