Part of 1812-2012: A Contemporary Perspective, at York Quay Gallery, Harbourfront Centre, 2012.
Field Dress, c. 1812.
The artefacts comprise the costume famously worn during one lady's perilous and circuitous journey made the 22nd of June, 1813, under the heat of the summer sun, over some twelve miles of wood, swamp and miry road between the village of Queenston, and Beaver Dam, etc.
FIELD • [noun ] an area on which a battle is fought : a field of battle.
DRESS • [as adj. ] denoting military uniform or other clothing used on formal or ceremonial occasions : a dress suit.
History is a study subject to interpretation, in which narratives become scattered and muddied, skewed and biased, altered and embellished, strewn and gathered, unpicked, and patch-worked back together.
The bicentennial of the War of 1812 is in many ways, the bicentennial of an immigration that shaped my own family’s history. My English and American ancestors settled in this land, Southern Ontario, and here, we have remained, for the last two centuries. Some were soldiers during the war, given land in exchange for their service in the war; others were Englishmen granted land after the war in order to strengthen and expand the geographical reach of the Upper Canada. In the early days of settlement, often wholly unprepared for living in the near wilderness conditions, settlers endured back-breaking work and laboured to survive in a harsh climate, with few conveniences at their disposal. Landscape shapes the character of the people that inhabit it; the land leaves traces upon us as we traverse it, through fields, woods and rivers.