CHAMPLAIN SERIES: Cathy Busy
It had been a busy day, and I raced up to the monument right at the end of the picture-taking time. The afternoon was hot, sunny, and breezy. By the time I had my bike helmet off, I felt the significance of this collective event of having our pictures taken with the revised Champlain monument.When it was my turn to pose, I stood beside the spot where the scout had been removed. I thought about what a positive political achievement this absence from under the feet of Champlain was, and how social justice and historical revision is happening here and there, and how important it is to notice and celebrate. I was also aware of posing, collaborating with Jeff, the photographer, in providing new visual commentary on this monument. I felt serene and honoured to participate in a project of defying the oppression of First Nations people, and happy that contemporary art practice values doing this kind of thing.Later, when I saw the photograph, I remembered how insignificant my choice of dress had been that day, and yet how in the photograph it seemed to work nicely, its movement against the stillness of the stone, the green with the gray granite, the floral with the brass branch on the monument. I remembered that I liked the feeling of having bare feet on the stone. The look on my face goes with a feeling of satisfaction that the monument no longer commemorates an oppressive relationship and that institutions are taking responsibility for the histories they represent.
May 6, 2002