Opening Friday October 13, at 5 PM
What does mapmaking reveal? And what can it conceal?
With Google Maps’ quasi-monopoly on digital maps, not to mention the ready availability of their satellite images covering the entire planet, questions around mapmaking are becoming more and more important. What can you really learn about a place by only studying the network of its roads, the borders between the communities that live there, and the static contours of its living waterways?
During her visits to the Greater Sudbury region, Toronto-based artist Colette Laliberté was struck by the abundance of lakes, rivers and other waterways in the area. After a closer study of the region’s topography, she noticed that most of these waterways still bore the names given to them by settler cultures.
We can’t help but question the decision-making process that precedes the graphical representation found on a map. Why do we call this lake Ramsey? Why not Lake Bimitimigamasing? Around the communities of Lively and the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek First Nation, locals don’t always use Makada Lake’s traditional name, preferring to use the English name “Black Lake,” even though newer maps (Google Maps included) clearly designate it as “Makada Lake.”
Thus, Colette Laliberté’s project questions and renders abstract the labels and other conventions associated with cartography. Over the course of a creative residency at the GNO, Laliberté will show us her interpretation of the region’s geographic maps by creating a large-scale site-specific wallwork.
When working on site-specific projects, Colette Laliberté is as, if not more, interested in the community and the landscape surrounding the “site” in question than the specific location itself. Having an outsider’s perspective allows her to approach what might otherwise seem perfectly normal from a new, abstract point of view.
The artist wishes to thank Deanna Nebenionquit and Rubina Nebenionquit for their help, support, and expertise in the development of this project.
We acknowledge that Galerie du Nouvel-Ontario (GNO) sits on the traditional territory of the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek First Nation.