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Primarily working in screen printing and lithography, I contemplate the ways Canadian history and contemporary society are fabricated through master narratives and nationalistic storytelling. My research often begins by conducting field work within tourist spaces and large group events. How these places inspire both skepticism and sincerity in their audience is a significant theme in my work. I am interested in moments within constructed spaces that elicit cuteness, humour, or absurdity. My work is informed by attitudes that are embedded in youth culture and acts of celebration, while considering the colonial implications that are attached to representations of Canadian identity. I explore amplified versions of cultural symbols that might be trying too hard to convey authenticity or tradition – potentially rendering themselves underwhelming. In my experiences at events such as the St. John's Regatta, I have felt juxtaposed feelings of allure and repulsion around cultural representation. For instance, finding myself at the entrance of a lakeside festival, on a littered path that draws a dusty line between the edge of a graveyard and a wall of a penitentiary.

Printmaking contextualizes the themes I am working with because of its historical roots in the production and distribution of tourist paraphernalia in the early 20th century. This type of printed matter was used as a tool for colonial propaganda that encouraged settlement in North America, such as the advertisements for the Canadian Pacific railway that evoked dewy landscapes and the promise of opportunity.

While my approach to art making is heavily informed by notions of place, since relocating to Montreal my work has shifted its focus toward public spaces that are undergoing a transformation for the purpose of facilitating spectacle. I intend to interrogate regional branding and tourism by asking who is it for, who is it constructed by, and who does it exclude?

For questions, comments, or just a good chat, I can be reached at amery.sandford@gmail.com.