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Artist Statement 

The Process 


Grain elevators are potent and prominent icons of the Canadian prairies - and they are rapidly disappearing with the emergence of the new corporate farming practices that demand large-scale storage and transportation systems. I live in a small community in Saskatchewan and when 'our' elevators were demolished the community was significantly diminished. It was only in their absence that I began to understand their deeper significance. When they are destroyed, we lose both our 'sense of place' and our sense of self-definition as a prairie people with rural roots.

Elevators mark 'our place' in the vastness of the prairie landscape. Many of these elevators have already been demolished. We need an opportunity to mourn the passing of the way of life they once represented. I created these images as a memorial for a way of life that no longer exists.

Once we have acknowledged a loss we can start the process of redefining our place by asking new questions: How does the shift to large-scale “corporate” farming affect our communities? How can we envision and create a more sustainable economy that will allow us to remain yet provide adequate ecological niches for the other living creatures of the prairies? What next?

Some elevators remain – “the survivors”. All the elevators I have depicted have been given an extended life – either by being refitted or purchased for private use. They have taken on different functions within their communities.

So, too, must we redefine our “sense of place” and our self-definition in response to our changing environment.