“sittin’ with cabot square” (2012 – 2016) – acquisition by Musée d’art de Joliette

September 14, 2021

A significant selection of the work “sittin’ with cabot square” comprising paintings, digital image files, ambient sound, spoken word recordings, and newspapers has been acquired by the Musée d’art de Joliette (MAJ.)

This work traveled through many iterations and has been graced with the support of many institutions and people before touching down at the MAJ. I give my thanks to everyone who perceived a value in what it was the work was doing, (the thousand and one people whose support is the day to day functioning of a place often performed behind the scenes, but who make everything possible, and the thousand and one people whose small and almost imperceptible gestures keep a project going, from the people who sat with me to those that turned to smile, or those who gave themselves to be seen as passer-by’s or fellow square users, please know your support literally held me and the project afloat. In particular (as my memory serves me) thanks are given to:

– The artist Paul Couillard from 7a*11d who, in 2010, invited me (carte blanche) to perform. I chose to sit. The location was Union Station in Toronto and it is here that “sittin” really began.

– Nathalie S. Loveless wrote a wonderful text as the festival blogger.

– Daniel Baird also a festival blogger penned an insightful piece.

– Karen Correia Da Silva authored a text for Steel Bananas.

– From Toronto the work traveled to Moncton (2011) as part of the “jè-st’: festival d’art performatif et d’intervention.”

– A beautiful publication was produced bearing the name of the festival with texts by: Jennifer Bélanger, Amanda Dawn Christie, and Nisk Imbeault.

– In 2012 I received a grant from the Canada Council and “sittin with cabot square” began. The sittin’ work spanned two years and the project blog became the site of presentation.

travel to a location and occupy a place.  sit.  occupy a place with your body in a deliberate, consistent and repetitive manner.  sit.  the same place occupied daily.  a daily traveling to a location to occupy a place.  sit.

your body assumes a place. you have no choice in the matter.

you stay with.

what you do not do speaks as much as what you do do.  you do not sing a song of protest, you do not hold your hand out, you do not lie down.

you eat an orange.  put the peel in a brown paper bag.  note the date, the temperature, the wind-chill factor, the angle of the sun, the possibility of precipitation. you pick up a newspaper.  the orange peel, the newspaper, these accumulate over time.

what you do not do speaks as much as what you do do.  you do not advance, there is no advancement here.  things split, snag on, accumulate at your base.

to view the project blog: sittin with

– The sittin’ part of “sittin’ with cabot square” was fulfilled and now began the period of ruminating and questioning and …floundering. I joined an experimental group (2014 – 2016) through “Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal – The Interdisciplinary Writers’ Unit” led by Fatma Sarah Elkashef.

– The spoken word piece, “the sitter” (2016) was presented and recorded at Bain Mathieu in Montréal as part of the “Playwrights’ Interdisciplinary Writers’ Unit” program.

– At Montréal’s “La Fonderie Darling,” (2016) I was able to experiment with a performative gesture, “and she starts to comb no name’s hair,” an action lifted from the spoken word text “the sitter” performed by Danielle Berthiaume and John Thomas as part of Filiations – série de performances. Again a carte-blanche invitation by an artist, this time Michelle Lacombe.

– I received the Canada Council grant to proceed with the ink on cardboard paintings, which allowed me to finally feel as if the project’s hold on me could be released.

– In 2017 I occupied the upstairs loft and the sound post at Centre Clark with the “sittin’ with cabot square” project. For the artist presentation I performed the second spoken word text, “wayne… not rain” developed during the Playwrights workshop. This performance was also recorded.

– In 2019 I was blessed to have a studio visit with Émile Grandmont-Bérubé of the Musée d’art de Joliette – one of those rare visits where it feels as if all time is there for you – and the long and detailed work of acquisition was begun. Nathalie Galego took up the thread and in 2021 the acquisition was completed.

– Finally a heartfelt thank you to Jack Joseph Lokshtanov. A thousand kisses deep.


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