Wednesday, October 10, 2018

War: A Personal Response, "Connection" by Amanda Onchulenko

Articulation's exhibit "War: A Personal Response" at The Sidney Museum is fast approaching and members are finalizing projects and organizing shipping. The art making process takes precedence for many of us but the logistics of transportation and presentation are also a factor in assembling a show. I am grateful for friends with recent large Ikea purchases and engineers in my lineage that made the manipulation of "Connection", "Rain", "Protection" and parts of "Soft Landing”, into an Air Canada friendly container, manageable, despite it feeling like wrestling a crocodile into a cake tin. 

How to wrestle a crocodile into a cake tin...shipping artwork

While we get final preparations underway feel free to check out member’s musings on particular projects like my “Connection” below.

"Connection": 62"x 20" by Amanda Onchulenko 2018
16" dye sublimated fabric panels, Lake Winnipeg drift wood and lucky rocks.

Follow the links below to check out other members projects:

"It’s hard to imagine where our individual paths might take us when we are young and unattached but looking back with a little hindsight often illuminates the threads of connection that have led us to where we are in the present.

Standing on Juno Beach in Normandy earlier this year as part of our 25th-anniversary celebrations, in the twilight of a lovely spring evening, I marvelled at my two grown daughters as they took in the calm expanse of ocean alongside their dad.
Steve Onchulenko leaves home to serve.

The four of us were alone with our thoughts where 70+ years earlier Steve Onchulenko, grandfather, father, and father-in-law, had landed in a tin U boat alongside thousands of Canadian soldiers and embarked on a very different journey to the one we were enjoying.

Steve was a strapping, barely of age, prairie boy with an affinity for languages, who trained as a medic before finding himself on this very shoreline at much the same age as my children are today. He was not a tourist and much later in his life declined an invitation to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the D Day landings, claiming he had been there once and had, absolutely, no desire to return.

He didn't talk about his experiences often but on what was possibly my first Thanksgiving weekend visit to my then boyfriend's family, Steve went into his dresser and came back to the kitchen table where his family was casually gathered.
Opening a keepsake box full of trinkets and coins he sat down and calmly began to describe some of the events and people that were connected to the objects in his possession. He shared snippets of a past unspoken life to a room grown silent. I later discovered the reverence of the subject matter had his children listening with wide eyes and open mouths, to war stories they too were hearing for the first time. When he was finished with what I thought was a family tale, he packed up his little box and returned to establish a game of cards.
Sam in 2014 found Grandpa's plaque at the D Day memorial 

 What inspired a long silent veteran to share tales of his wartime service? Did my foreign status inspire a long-buried memory of his own being far from home or was I just lucky to have discovered a familiarity in the spirit of a man who would fling me expertly around the dance floor at my wedding to his youngest son and become the advocate of our daughters, his youngest grandchildren?

Grandpa as I knew him, supervising his garden

vEvery family has legendary stories that inform the young of the antics of the old and Articulation’s war project has inspired me to take the time to revise them. Grandpa was known to have some speedy wheels on his return to Canada after the war, not to mention a family connection to a renowned still during prohibition. On that Normandy beach, I remembered the gentle grandpa who grew raspberries, warm with summer sunshine, and shared them peacefully with his grandchildren under the shade of his beloved birch tree. I was grateful for the events that had brought my family to this spot on the earth and for the family connections that keep us close to those who have come before us.


1 comment:

  1. wow-comments don't work- deep appreciation of what we just saw is immeasurable.