The Linen Memorial
Canada Council for the Arts

Biennale - Portneuf, Quebec 2011

Lycia Sculpture and Linen Memorial's Facebook Page
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2011 Quebec

June 21st to September 5th 2011

 

Biennale internationale du lin de Portneuf,
Quebec, Canada

The Biennale Internationale du lin de Portneuf is a cultural event showcasing modern practices related to linen and flax, covering both technical and conceptual aspects. The subject of flax and linen is addressed through themes as varied as contemporary visual arts, crafts, design and fashion. The project integrates contemporary art into heritage buildings and sites. While such places like these are laden with importance, both historically and visually, creators find in them challenges that stimulate their imaginations and nourrish their research.

Embroidery of the handkerchiefs was completed by members of the Canadian Irish Emigré communities, 2009.


Biennale du lin on Vimeo.

The Ulster Linen Memorial in the Chapel of St John Portneuf Chapel

 

The Ulster Linen Memorial

Words of artist, Lycia Danielle Trouton, Portneuf Quebec.

It is special and unique to be unveiling my memorial-artwork with you on Northern Ireland's Day of Private Reflection on the conflict (that period of violent sectarianism called The Troubles), June 21st 2011. The years on the memorial represent 1966 - 2006, 40 years in total — for a country considered "post-conflict (but still conflicted)".

This is the longest day of light in the Northern Hemisphere - time enough to pause and reflect upon the "community of the dead" that you see

(sewn on the linen handkerchiefs - 10 names per handkerchief panel, in chain stitch by 50 volunteer embroiderers worldwide, coordinated by the artist's mother and aunt: sisters and needleworkers Maureen and Margot née McGladdery from 2004 – 09)

and hear before you...

(in the Soundscape of a "compressed" Names Reading — 40 minutes — by 4 sets of male/female voices on a 2 speaker system at either ends of the chapel or installation gallery – my 2009 collaboration with Welsh/English/Australian psycho–acoustics expert Stephen Perrett, PhD).

Our stories about these people are a part of the living community of our daily lives — of our pains and our hopes.

As an artist, it has been one of my most challenging tasks to create a safe and quiet space for reflection upon a traumatic period in history, through individual lives by their names... A period in history that has caused so many deaths in my motherland.

Northern Ireland has had a small population of about 1.5 million, post World War II.

(according to Wikipedia, the population of Northern Ireland was estimated as being 1,760,000 in 2008, see: Northern_Ireland)

It is a country far from Canada, which became my adopted homeland and formed my new identity as a child and teenager.

This memorial has now toured almost 10 locations and 4 countries.

Thank you to my 2 host organizations and Canon Graham Jackson who is conducting The Blessing today.

I hope as a small gathering we can remember the gift of a Canadian-Irish commitment to social justice, multi-culturalism and living in peace with your neighbour who might differ from you in terms of language, looks etc.

Before I end, I wish to read 2 poems by Northern Ireland's Seamus Heaney which reference life/death and the handkerchief.

The Rescue (from Seeing Things, p. 45)

In drifts of sleep I came upon you

Buried to your waist in snow.

You reached your arms out: I came to

Like water in a dream of thaw.

and

from The Settings - verse xii (from Seeing Things p. 77)

Once and only once I fired a gun —

A . 22. At a square of handkerchief

Pinned on a tree about sixty yards away.

It exhilarated me — the bullet's song

So effortlessly at my fingertip,

The target's single shocking little jerk,

A whole new quickened sense of what rifle meant.

And then again as it was in the beginning

I saw the soul like a white cloth snatched away

Across dark galaxies and felt that shot

For the sin it was against eternal life —

Another phrase dilating in new light.

[author's italics]

This speech was translated into French and read aloud for the audience members,

by the Tour Guide-Interpreter of The Linen Memorial for the summer months (until Sept. 5th): Jean-Philippe, age 19. The second poem was read by Jean-Philippe.

He is contactable by < whatwherewho AT msn.com > Lycia can supply translation upon request.

The speech was given after an Introduction by

Dominique Roy, Director Biennale internationale du lin de Portneuf

Please note: Permission to read the poems were not obtained due to small size of gathering.

Canon Graham Jackson's words:

"O Lord, Our Heavenly Father, in whom we live and move and have our being, we give you beautiful thanks for:

  • This private day of reflection
  • This Ulster Linen Memorial, held in the purity of this Holy Church.

We give thanks, too, for the handwork and devotion of your servants Lycia and Dominique, and for the member's of this community and all those who have settled here.

Bless, O Lord, this Ulster Linen Memorial.

Bless all who have died in the "Time of Troubles" —

And all who now live with grief and the resulting trauma.

Bless the 50 worldwide needleworkers for their skill and faithfulness

And bless these handkerchiefs — durable symbols of goodbye

To those whose names now ‘float in space’.

We ask you too, O, Lord, to bless all those who visit this memorial so lovingly displayed in this Holy Space may they be inspired to strive always for justice and peace and to follow Our Lord's command — To love our neighbours.

(The Grace) We ask all this in the name of The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit. "

21. 07. 2011.

Graham Jackson (b. England 1935).

Vice Chair of Citadel Charity Foundation.

Member of Holland Centre Community Partners.

Layreader since 1980, Warden since 1995; Warden to diocesan layreaders.

Member of Quebec City's English-speaking community.

BA Bishop's University (1957);

MA McGill University (1962 and 1969)

Quebec City, Canada.

The Ulster Linen Memorial

Portneuf Irish Community

Inauguration Portneuf
Portneuf
Irish
Community
Christ Church Chapel  Memorial St John the Evangelist Chapel First Burial Monument