Muninn by Robyn Love, Grenfell Campus's artist in residence, opened in the Grenfell Art Gallery on Feb 2nd.
Ms. Love is Grenfell Campus's current artist in residence. Conversation about being an artist in residence with the gallery started long before anyone had heard of COVID-19. Originally, she planned to work in a studio in the Fine Arts building which presented Ms. Love the opportunity to make larger works than could be fabricated in her home studio for her project Branks.
"When it became clear that I would not be allowed in the building, we had to make a shift; how could I continue to explore the ideas that were started with Branks but in a way that didn't require a large space but took advantage of the gallery's outreach to the community," said Ms. Love.
Through conversations with Matthew Hills, director of the Grenfell Art Gallery, the idea for a performance titled Filling Out Memory, which happened on August 22, 2020, on the Colette Urban Memorial Trail was born.
Muninn is the culmination of the project Filling Out Memory.
"I think of Filling Out Memory as a natural extension of the ideas being explored by Branks," said Ms. Love. "For this work, I focused on the word gossip. The original meaning of the word gossip (Middle English: god sib) was 'one who is close to God.' It was a name given to honour the wise women in the community: the women whom other women turned for advice. Around the same time as when the scold's bridles appeared, the word shifted meaning to the negative connotation that we know today. The phrase ubridled gossip can be traced directly back to this time, even as it is still used today.
"I wanted to reclaim the original meaning of the word by calling up stories of our female ancestors, stories largely overlooked and forgotten throughout history. In Filling Out Memory, I invited people to write a story of a woman in their life who was important to them, who was a gossip as understood based on its original meaning. "
In all, 34 stories were collected from around the world that were read through megaphones on the trail.
"If Filling Out Memory was about speaking and giving voice to stories that have been overlooked, Muninn is about listening," said Ms. Love. "Replicating a kind of remembered version of the landscape of the lookout point on the gallery walls, I also am creating a 'listening booth' where people are invited to step inside and listen to a recording of these stories."
The work has been well received.
"We're fortunate to have an artist as talented and dynamic as Robyn in our community," said Mr. Hills. "As a curator, it's inspiring to work with an artist who so adeptly engages difficult subject matter, in ways that resonate locally and provincially, while still remaining in conversation with international events and concerns. At times Robyn's work can be challenging, even scary, but it rewards participation, which can feel like a personal risk with insight and deeper understanding. "
Visitation to the art gallery is available by appointment by through email or this form.
Caption: Participants in Filling Out Memories on the Colette Urban Trail. This project was the inspiration for Munnin.