Amery Sandford is a print artist based in St. John's, NL, Canada.
Through a combination of lithography and screen print, I explore cultural construction and identity through research of the imagined Western frontier, tourism, and large group events. I am interested in ideas of construction in both Canadian history and contemporary society; using attitudes I found in youth culture and celebration as a microcosm for Canada's own ideas of self-definition. I am drawn to objects and images that appear at events such as the Calgary Stampede that are amplified versions of cultural symbols that might be trying too hard to convey authenticity or tradition – potentially rendering themselves underwhelming or pretentious.
From these experiences of being immersed in cultural celebration, I have felt juxtaposed feelings of allure and repulse around Canadian representation in the way that almost every culture has certain stereotypes that pertain to a specific people, but at times it is difficult to pinpoint the real thing.
Printmaking contextualizes the themes I am working with because of its historical roots in tourist paraphernalia from the early 20th century such as post cards, and also in the use of colonial propaganda posters that encouraged settlement in North America. Romanticism plays a key role in many large scale lithographs of dewy Canadian landscapes and promise of opportunity.
By looking at fabrication of national identity, I do not intend to dictate what is authentic nor condemn cultural spectacle, but merely try to make sense of it. Being active in cultural celebration yet feeling some anxiety from it has left me in a conflicting space in terms of art making; not sure whether I should light a little candle in celebration or just be plain embarrassed.
For questions, comments, or just a good chat, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.