Atlantic Vernacular Does Fundy National Park
The search for inspiration between artists and poets in New Brunswick nature.
Atlantic Vernacular is Craft NB’s Biennale exhibition which was supposed to take place in 2020, but.. pandemics. This exhibit will be taking place in early 2022 on an online platform, with Gillian Dykeman as curator, and 30 artists creating pieces with correspondence from 30 poets. We took selected participants from this group to Fundy National Park, and paired them together, while keeping socially distant, to create another piece which will be included in the exhibition. They used New Brunswick scenery and the activities Fundy created for us as inspiration for this new piece.
We were lead through a series of different activies by Fundy interpretor, Dan Sinclair. Dan not only has an incredible cache of knowledge when it comes to New Brunswick nature and wildlife, but is an incredible storyteller and guide. It was amazing to see the artists and poets drawing inspiration from the information he provided to them, and we can’t wait to see these new pieces!
The pairs working together will be:
Multidisciplinary Artist Renata Britez x Poet Laureate/Longform writer Kayla Geitzler
Textile and Fiber Artist Jacqueline Bourque x Literary translator/Poet Sonya Malaborza
Printmaker Alison Murphy x Wood Fiber Artist Ralph Simpson
Welcome to Fundy
Once we all arrived, we jetted down to the beach for some introductions with Gillian, a crash course on Fundy 101 with Dan, and some lunch.
On our first night in Fundy, Dan took us on a night hike. With limited visual senses, we had to use our auditory, tactile, olfactory and gustatory sense to lead us through the experience. We learned about bats and sonar, owls and their calls, and had a tactile experience with a number of different textures found in nature.
Dan made us some fresh spruce tea that we drank at a lookout while trying to record some bats with a sonar app, and listening to the many different voices of the frogs.
The next morning we had a virtual creative writing workshop with Sue Sinclair and Jenna-Lyn Albert, who are both poets whose works will be featured in the Atlantic Vernacular exhibition.
The pairs had a chance to discuss the beginning ideas for their new projects following the workshop. It was amazing to see the progress the teams made throughout our time in Fundy.
That afternoon we had an opportunity to help Fundy release 70 salmon back into the wild. These salmon were kept captive and monitored to ensure they had the best possibilities of reproducing in the wild once they were released.
When we asked the participants what their favorite part of the trip was, they all agreed that the salmon release experience was the most profound. We can’t wait to see this translate into their work.
It was safe to say that we were all inspired by the views New Brunswick had to offer that afternoon, and it certainly made for some great photo opps!
We finished the night off with some of Alma’s finest pizza. Poets Kayla and Sonya read some of their works while we warmed around the campfire. Then we were off to bed before an early rise…
Lobster Boat Launch
We rose with the sounds of thunder, and headed down to the wharf to see the launch of the lobster fishing boats. The rain held off (for the most part) just long enough to watch them depart for the last season of the year.
That afternoon we hiked up the Maple Grove Trail and got to monitor some salamander habitats. We measured each salamander and the leaf litter beneath the boards Dan had set up with a group of highschool students years ago.
Before we parted ways, we had the opportunity to interview each of the participants. We asked them about their favorite activity, what the experience meant to them as a whole, and how they think the experience will translate into their work. We are patiently waiting to see what comes out of this trip, and we can’t wait to share it with world!
Photography by Emily Rioux and Anne Stillwell-LeBlanc