500/150 Tree (do we want to use this a shorthand and give it a longer name?). Tree branch (is this Oak?), handmade cotton? paper, material? stencil, letter press, 2017. On loan to the Welland Museum from Seedling for Change Press for the duration of the 150 Celebration Exhibition.
500/150 Tree invites a reflection on the deep connection between the past, the present, and the future of Canada and its peoples, as well as a celebration of all its ancestors spread all over the world, in particular Latin America.
The 500/150 Tree invites us all to reflect on and celebrate the intimate connection there is between the birth of Canada and the history of all nations in the American continent. Present-day nations and countries grew from the soil in which aboriginal peoples, from the northernmost tip of Greenland on Canadian territory to Cape Horn to the Southern end of the Tierra del Fuego Archipelago in Chile put down roots and called this rich land home.
The year of 1492 brought about longlasting change to the original inhabitants of this land. On October 12, 1992 the Americas remembered the date in which Christopher Columbus set foot on the island of Guanahani on the Caribbean as he sailed across the Atlantic Ocean in search of the East Indies. For five hundred years, the number of people who called and claimed this land as home multiplied. Knowledge and celabration of each other’s origin stories and ancestors, and expansion of the cultural heritage they could all claim as their own nevertheless did not flourish.
Present day North America is a territory divided up into Canada, the United States, and Mexico. This territory was the homeland of the Anishinaabe indigenous peoples of Canada and the U.S. who called it Turtle Island. The current geopolitical divisions draw lines that are reflective of colonial ways seeing. Bringing back the ways of seeing that preceded the arrival of Europeans to this land reveals a multilayered, connected, and for that matter richer history of the land we call home and its diverse peoples. The turtle reminds us of this.
Together, tree trunk, branches, and paper-leafs are planting the seed for change inviting us all to explore links between our pasts and build new meanigful relations among ourselves as we prepare the soil for future generations to come.
The 500/150 Tree marks the collaboration between the Welland Museum and Seedling for Change in History that started in December 2015.
The 500/150 Tree grows from the Seedling for Change Press co-founded by Gordon Sisler and Maria del Carmen Suescun Pozas, Founding Director of Seedling for Change in History. It was first shown at the 2017 Wayzgoose Annual Celebration of Arts.
Seedling for Change in History is a collective of engaged senior and junior researchers in the public and private sectors, seed student researchers in post-secondary institutions, undergraduate and/or graduate students, elementary and secondary students and community partners.
The Seedling for Change in History collective is committed to making history together by reclaiming, presearving, promoting, and expanding the cultural heritage of the Niagara region.
The collective develops interdisciplinary projects in a multidisciplinary and multicultural environment in the Niagara region and beyond.
Seedling for Change in History and the Welland Museum collaborated in planning and programming 150 Celebration activities. Dr. Maria del Carmen Suescun Pozas is supporting implementation of activities as Historian in Residence in 2017-2018.
In memory of Rick Morgan, Cameron Ward, and Bill Poole.