Visualizing Absence: Memorializing the histories of the former Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital was an art-based research project led by Anne Zbitnew in collaboration with other artists and students from the Arts Administration and Cultural Management program at Humber College.
Heritage apple trees, over 100 years old
What if there are no memories?
Close up detail of 1,511 marks
How can we use art to learn about mental health?
Passenger Pigeon, extinct
textile imagination of a letter from Grace
Thomas King (2005) said, “You have to be careful with the stories you tell. And you have to watch out for the stories that you are told.” And, once you know, you are implicated and you can’t say you didn’t know. You have a responsibility to think actively.
History is a layered constellation of stories, and when told, these narratives are often simplified, edited, ordered chronologically, redacted and/or censored. We are all made from stories and as we intersect and collaborate with others, the accounts can become more complicated.
That doesn’t mean they can’t be told. As a collective, we can move a story out of isolation and into a new location. Complex history can unfold if we move past curiosity and listen, respect, engage and even become a character in the narrative. Silenced, hidden stories can be told by picking up a thread from this tangle and telling the story to the community, leading to social change.