Paintings by Carol Wylie
Artist Statement: I began this project to preserve the memories of Holocaust survivors. However, I was struck by similarities around methods of oppression regarding the Indigenous residential school experience. Indian Affairs’ Duncan Campbell Scott’s 1910 dubbing of residential schools as “The Final Solution” preceded Hitler’s similar pronouncement regarding the “Jewish problem.” Separating families, shearing hair, replacing names with numbers are ways to dehumanize and other. Also, Indigenous and Jewish survivors have worked together to educate about their respective histories. These connections inspired this project. The title derives from Dinos Christianopoulos’ They buried us…they didn’t know we were seeds. The intent is that these portraits will give viewers a chance to encounter a survivor they may never meet and feel echoes of their individual strength and courage. The eighteen portraits reference “chai” or “life”; with life comes hope.
Carol Wylie is a portrait artist with an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and BFA from the University of Saskatchewan. Her work is included in exhibitions across Canada and the U.S., collections, including Sask-Arts permanent collection, and she was a finalist in the Kingston Portrait Prize 2015 and Salt Spring National Art Prize 2021.
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