Opening with a reference to the Group of Seven’s iconic paintings, O Canada examines how both the wilderness and the work of the Group of Seven were taken up as “Canadian” at the time of a burgeoning nationalism. Both are now often accepted without question and assumed as beautiful and unproblematic. O Canada looks at the divide between this constructed national identity and the viewpoint of the colonized and the more recent immigrant population. Personally, as someone who also lived in a different environment outside of Canada, I did not find these landscapes beautiful initially but learnt to appreciate them.
The image of Canadian wilderness slowly changes to a landscape of suburban homes. Although deforestation and the environment are a sub-text, I am referring to a contemporary landscape that has become as naturalized as the wilderness. Owning a house and a car has become more than just a dream; it has become quasi-mandatory as a normal goal of life.
The sound of my voice learning the national anthem questions another symbol in the construct of national identity by pointing to it not only as learned but as naturalized through repetition. However by emphasizing repetition, it is rendered meaningless.
The projection onto paper points to the ephemeral quality of national identity as something that is not quite real. At the same time, it points to its permanence through its inscription onto paper.
Rear Projection onto newsprint
Looped video of 4min10sec
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