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~ = in private collection.
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This series began in 1997 as a result of documenting and inquiring into the lives of my paternal and maternal ancestors who came to Queen's Bush (now the Grey-Bruce area of Ontario) before 1850.
Most of my ancestors settled in Normanby Township. Along with English, Scottish and Irish immigrants, they built the communities of Neustadt, Ayton, and others. In Nenagh, they lived with those who had preceded them, the Sauking nation and others who found safe haven in the bush.
The pioneer days of my ancestors were consumed with the need for self-sufficiency on the homestead but also with the desire for community. My ancestors were charter founders of area schools, such as SS#5, and area churches. Their lives, now bracketed by birth and death, affirm continuity but also the finite space we occupy.
The series has moved from the 19th to 20th century and is now an exploration of images from my own past.The use of "no faces" in this series was initially to portray what is not known and then as motif for a shared or universal heritage.
|images © ruth hartman|