305 - Halifax Waterfront
Beacon Project

How To Be a Vine For the Future

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An egg is a periphery: a vine allows timelines and generations to speak to each other. In order for transformation to occur, a thing must be taken to its edge, and cross over.

A grape vine (waa’ra einab) reaches out across one ocean to another; it reaches to people we’ll never touch and air we’ll never taste. It roots into the earth, sediment of what has come before; it reaches to the sun, beacon of what could be.

The Ukrainian pysanky, referenced in the shape of the piece as well as peoples’ movement through it, speaks to abundance, gift-giving, the passing forward of a precious wish into the hands of a loved one: the future. The emptied and decorated egg is transformative potential – it asks, if we infuse an egg with hopes and dreams for the future, and keep its shell safe, what could hatch? What kind of world might we build, if we can stay soft enough to weather these delicate vessels through all the coming storms?

Looping around, the grape leaf itself symbolizes rebirth, while a grape vine is propagated by taking a cutting of the live plant, and planting it elsewhere, helping it to adapt to a new environment: to produce grapes: fruit but also seeds: the potential to nourish long into the future.

When we talk about legacies, we’re talking about carrying something forward that honours where we came from, but that remains malleable and motile in its responses to the present.

My relationship to my two families, Lebanese and Ukrainian, often feels tenuous, like a vine that got planted far away from the others, without much wind protection. After generations of continual uprooting, nearly everyone in my Ukrainian family is dead, and my Lebanese family oscillates rapidly between states of togetherness and apartness. For most of my life, I haven’t known where to turn or who to ask for story, for advice, or for myth-making. In reaching out of this and into our histories, I’ve found relationships that now act as arrows in these murky waters, including my friendship with Jessie OIson, with whom I share Ukrainian ethnicity and an attraction towards the pysanky, and who has collaborated with me in making this project.

Through our respective processes, we’ve received small handfuls of symbols and stories that have become dimly lit roads to these deeper, intergenerational levels of self and healing.

To reach back into these symbols has become a powerful act of bringing-forth, in life, art, and spirit. I’m continually struck by how the small number of things that made it from my grandparents’ hands to mine are so infused with this potential for rebirth and transformation. Their legacies are my work: despite all the displacement, loss, rooting, and re-rooting, we’re still here. They are daily reminders of how to adapt, how to winter, and how to fruit.

Oct 13th - All day
Oct 14th - All day
Oct 15th - All day
Installation Storytelling Illuminated

Location

Halifax Waterfront

1521 Lower Water St

Wheelchair accessible