Summer 2021 & 2022
Linda Duvall and Jillian McDonald
The Art Gallery of Regina is thrilled to announce that the community-engaged exploration of the land, The Dig, by artists Linda Duvall and Jillian McDonald, has been awarded an SK-arts Artists In Communities grant.
Collaborating with the community in a peer-based learning framework, the artists will explore excavation as a method of interacting with the land. In particular, the artists intend to activate emotional connections to the land through digging and exploring history as laid down in the soil.
In its first phase, planned for June 2021, the artists will work with community members to develop opportunities for members of the public to interact with civic and undeveloped land in new ways, such as nature walks, exploring building projects, observing animals' dens and sharing hole-digging traditions.
The artists will be in-residence in Regina for two weeks in August 2021, provided that travel restrictions are eased and it is safe. During this time they will forge meaningful connections with the land, animals and people of Regina and plan public-facing activities for summer 2022.
During summer 2022, the artist will tranform the AGR's gallery into a lab, gathering place, research site, and presentation site of the artists' two-channel video, drawings, presentations, and community artworks resulting from the residency activities. The artists invite community members to participate in daily activities, including practical experiences making and using holes, resulting from the previous summer's research.
Duvall and McDonald's collaborative 2-channel video in which the two artists dug holes together on their respective properties in Saskatchewan and New York serves as the starting point of this residency and expanded artwork called The Dig.
Artists Linda Duvall (SK) and Jillian McDonald (MB/NY) lead a community-engaged artwork and residency that responds to historical, cultural and discipline-specific approaches to excavation. Their residency and community-engaged art project is guided by the question: How does digging as artmaking and conversation between artists, community and the land shape understandings of this specific place? "I didn't know that people needed to sit in a hole until I offered people the opportunity," says Duvall of her project In The Hole. Similarly, we discover what Community Participants want/need by offering it.
The artistic value of The Dig is to recognize the uniqueness of Regina (Wascana) as a physical place and its people, to create meaning, and to tell stories about this place through artists collaborating with the community in a peer-based learning framework.
The Dig's communal, outdoor activities welcome many communities and individuals to engage with art as a method to explore and enact what is valuable to them. The Dig presents a unique opportunity to expand the community's perception of art - what it is and how it can change points of view and create lasting impacts. Digging and exploring holes allows community participants to see the world in new ways and perceive what's underneath the surface (literally).
This project is unique for its focus on the land of this place and the artists' method of interacting with the land through excavation. Digging has particular relevance - literal and metaphorical - to Saskatchewan's grasslands history and the diminishment of this biome. The artists are interested in uncovering and reclaiming this history. The Dig explores what lies underground and what remains invisible above.
The Dig residency presents opportunities to engage various communities in non-hierarchical knowledge sharing about the land. In particular, the artists intend to activate emotional connections to the land through digging and exploring history as laid down in the soil.
The Art Gallery of Regina is grateful to Sk Arts for funding this community-engaged artist residency project.