Riverworks is a new initiative by The River Clyde Pageant and Creative PEI in which three artists—Doug Dumais, Kirstie McCallum and Alexis Bulman—present outdoor public artworks exploring ecological transformation through their distinct creative practices. The installation-based artworks engage with living shoreline projects and the natural environment.
Living shorelines are a nature-based solution to coastline protection. Mimicking natural processes, living shorelines slow erosion and are made with natural, biodegradable materials, planted native species of trees, shrubs and grasses, all of which stabilize the shoreline to prevent erosion.
Construction on the living shorelines began in July, and will unfold over the coming months.
Dumais’ artwork, Shoreline Palimpsest, consisted of a three-day performance in July. A makeshift artist studio was erected on the QEH shoreline in Charlottetown and served as the site for Dumais’ durational performance. The mobile studio, a 6x6x6-foot cube frame, held the essentials of a photographer’s studio. Dumais created photography and poetry on site that documented the daily, hourly, or even minute-by-minute changes along one section of the coast. After editing these images and then printing them in the mobile studio, observations were noted through poems written directly on the prints, which were given to visitors.
Alexis Bulman’s artwork was installed in July at the Stratford Waterfront Park. Lillian’s Place is a sculpture, an art installation and a performance all at once. It takes the form of a small wooden house, situated on an embankment where it will live in tandem with a living shoreline along the Hillsborough River. As years pass, the structure will age and its bright wood will transform to a weathered grey color. Lilian’s Place is an artwork in flux, a place where flowers grow, and a place where flowers are laid in remembrance. It will teeter on the edge of the shore, co-existing with living shoreline that stabilizes the littoral zone, striving to balance hope and loss, life and death, and past and future.
McCallum’s artwork, Pollinator Clock, will be installed next spring. The artwork is designed to give back to the earth by delivering pollinator seed and soil enhancements to the meadow where it will be installed at Tea Hill. The work consists of 12 baskets woven from red osier dogwood and raspberry cane, installed in the pattern of a circular clock-face. A sapling planted in the circle will represent the centre of a sundial. Each basket will be filled with local flower seed and bulbs mixed with soil, and compost. Over time, the baskets will break open, and the plants will disperse across the site, encouraging the growth of wildflowers and inviting insects and birds to reinhabit the area.