Organizing for prayergram workshop
A weathergram or prayergram, is described by calligrapher Lloyd J. Reynolds as a sudden insight.
Weathergrams come from the Japanese tradition of writing down wishes on pieces of paper and attaching them to trees. Borrowing from the Weathergram, created by calligrapher Lloyd J. Reynolds, and following artist Yoko Ono's wish tree, we are making 1,511 prayergrams that will be attached to trees on the Lakeshore grounds.
This project is a collaborative effort with a number of artists from the Calligraphic Arts Guild of Toronto, Royal City Calligraphy and the Hamilton Calligraphy Guild.
This project connects the absence of two histories: the extinction of the passenger pigeon and the names of 1,511 people buried at the Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital Cemetery, mostly in unmarked graves.
Extinct for 100 years, the Passenger Pigeon once blackened the skies for 3 days straight during migration periods. The name Mimico is derived from the Ojibwe, omiimiikaa meaning ‘abundant with wild pigeons’. Aboriginal people selectively hunted Passenger Pigeons for food. Destruction of the natural habitat and over-hunting of the Passenger Pigeon for sport by settlers led to extinction of the species in 1914.
The 1,511 people buried in the Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital Cemetery (on the corner of Evans Avenue and Horner Avenue, about 2 km from the Lakeshore grounds) were institutionalized and hidden away in life and, in death, remain forgotten.
This project honours the Passenger Pigeon and gives a name and a voice to every person buried in the cemetery.
We made 1,511 prayergrams out of biodegradable unbleached Kraft paper. Using water based paint, one side of each piece of paper holds part of a stenciled image of a Passenger Pigeon. Using pencil and water based ink, each prayergram was lettered by members of the Calligraphic Arts Guild of Toronto, Royal City Calligraphy and the Hamilton Calligraphy Guild. Each prayergram gives the gravesite location and the name of each person buried in the cemetery.
Unbleached twine attaches the prayergram to a tree branch and, when the paper deteriorates, the twine can be used by birds and other small animals to make nests.
The prayergrams were installed from May 19th to 21st and will remained until September, 2015 outside of L Space Gallery, Humber College, Lakeshore.