This multimedia photography installation documents my investigation into memory and identity in Banff National Park in relation to the land.
This series of photographs traces the steps that interned Canadian citizens took as they cleared the roads to create trails in Banff National Park. The act of walking is a form of carving a path in the earth. In tracing the route that people walked while forcibly confined, the surrounding forest enclosure takes on new meaning.
Between 1914 and 1920, 8,500 Canadian citizens and new immigrants from the Western Ukrainian regions of Galicia and Bukovyna as well as from the Austro-Hungarian, German and Ottoman empires, including some women and children, were interned by the Canadian government in work camps across the country. Due to the elements, Banff constituted one of the harshest camps at this time. As survivor Mary Manko Haskett has pointed out: “What was done to us was wrong. Because no one bothered to remember or learn about the wrong that was done to us it was done to others again, and yet again. Maybe there’s an even greater wrong in that.”
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Everything is Beautiful, Marginalia:
It is hard to come to Banff and not be overpowered by the landscape. The force of the mountains, quiet presence in the distance, are somehow at the same time imbued with an animation that seems separate from any human concern. The space has a feeling of the sacred. It is clear that this area was once sacred to someone, although traces of that history are barely visible. It is strange, in a sense, to feel this echo.
See Banff Springs Internment Memorial and Ceremonial Landscape of Significance for more information on this work