25 may > 30 jun 2012
opening reception 25 may at 5pm
The project is a visual discussion of values, individual worth, who is expendable/disposable. The concept emerged from two stories, but many more are woven into this exhibition.
The first story belongs to a young Native woman who came to my home. She had allegedly been picked up by two men, driven to the outskirts of town, raped and left naked. Nobody believed her. Over the years, many women continue to disappear across Canada: “midnight drives”, Highway of Tears, Hastings Street, Vancouver.
This part of the exhibition is represented by four life-size papier-mâché “prostitutes” perched on bar stools. They are the All Seeing, The All Knowing, those who Hold the Truth...
The second story is a reflection on the Westray Coal Mine Disaster where 26 miners died. The Company knew the mine was unsafe. This loss, and the loss of so many others, is illustrated by a free-standing screen strung with bright red nickel wire, representing the mine shafts and the high risk streets and roads running above and below the earth. Caught in the wire are small intricate clay figures similar to those unearthed from ancient burial sites.
A visual narrative; who pushes whom to the margins, who decides the value of the other… whose care?
Heather Topp is a multi media artist whose work has a strong feminist/political tone, dealing with individual space and stories. Thirty-one years as a visual artist living/working in Sudbury have given her a deep insight into the unique qualities of a "one industry" mining town, the North, its geography and shared social, economic and environmental stresses.