Jessie McNeil – Canada

Jessie McNeil is an artist working with collages, book medias and miniature sculptures. A Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Vancouver (Canada) in hand, she has exhibited most of her work there. Living in Canada but having Estonian roots, Jessie decided to visit her country of origin to do a two month residency in Tartu. She arrived in May 2014.

“With my art, I address the ideas and feelings behind space and place. What these spaces or places often inspire are examinations of cultural identity, the perspectives of and relationship between the tourist and local, as well as the value we place on certain landscapes over others.”

For her project she would specifically addresses her position as a second-generation Canadian who desires contact with and an understanding of her Estonian roots. Through an artist book project at Tartu AiR consisting of drawings, collections of thoughts and found material, she will ask questions such as, “Can we second-generation Canadians claim our grandparents’ distant culture as our own when our North American culture today doesn’t inspire or reflect our values?” or “Do personal relics, stories and past experiences of one’s family have a role to play in identifying one’s culture?” When establishing what our culture is today, how important is acknowledging the past, when we are so detached from it?

 “I wish to be reattached to this past and make it my present, by attending the residency.”

The artist book, which would extend itself into an installation of sorts within a gallery space at the end of the residency, will encourage a re-examination of what we use to identify “culture.”   This is what her art looks like:

(If you want to see more: http://cargocollective.com/jessiemcneil)

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