In 2014, the M(M)A began commissioning artists to create site-specific work to fill an empty garden plot just a few steps away from the museum’s front entrance. Now known as the Artist Garden, it’s become a site for experimentation, exploration, and a welcome respite for students and the public alike from the stresses of everyday life. Exhibited artists since 2014 have included Simon Frank, TH&B, and Ernest Daetwyler.
After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the M(M)A is pleased to present a new site-specific installation on view for a two-year term in the Artist Garden. Titled A Medicine Plant Held a Ceremony for all those who couldn’t remember if they were in this world or moved on by artists Susan Blight and Michael Dellios, the installation offers visitors a site to renew their sociality, and a place to sit, listen, heal, and learn.
The museum and artists would like to extend its thanks and gratitude to Nadia Woodside, Christian Audion, Dave the gardener, and Nicole Tarasick for their help in bringing this project to life.
Susan Blight and Michael Dellios
A Medicine Plant Held a Ceremony for all those who couldn’t remember if they were in this world or moved on
bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi), assorted native grasses, wood
The last two years have disrupted our habits of assembly. We offer viewers a site to renew and reaffirm our sociality on multiple scales. The concept of gathering is important to this work. We envision the bearberry plant as a teacher and so the being with the knowledge to share is in the middle and around that listeners are encouraged to be seated. The bearberry is holding a ceremony to teach about listening, observing, healing and putting the time in to learn how we might be able to help each other everyday.
Commissioned by the McMaster Museum of Art for a two-year display in the M(M)A Artist Garden.
About the Artists
Susan Blight (Anishinaabe, Couchiching First Nation) is an interdisciplinary artist working with public art, site-specific intervention, photography, film and social practice. Her solo and collaborative work engages questions of personal and cultural identity and its relationship to space. Learn more.
Michael Dellios is a Toronto-based designer and fabricator. Collaborating and working across many mediums and processes, he finds most of his inspiration in nature and in the forms and shapes that surround us. Learn more.