Shelter, Provisional (Awaiting Permanent Structure)
My current work comes from my identity as an artist of English Romani (Romanichal) heritage and is based on the cultural signs and signifiers in women’s traditional clothing. For this project I draw on the social imaginaries and constructs imbuing women’s ascribed clothing and roles, and reimagine the fabric from which garments are made.
Asylum seekers and refugees to Canada are held in a “kalisferiya”, a place of purgatory: an imposed and stultifying inertia, as their futures are being determined by boards, courts, adjudicators. My response to this, and to ‘aesthetic inertia’ is to address both the fluidity and permanence of women’s work in the context of this ‘waiting’, and to posit a sense of permanence – practically speaking, housing.
I reflect and draw on the skills of my father’s family as house builders in southern Ontario – a common occupation of English Romanies. I link my family’s former occupation with my current work, transforming a traditional Romani garment to a home, refuge, and site of women’s power and social engagement.
Lynn Hutchinson Lee is a multimedia artist based in Toronto. She co-founded The Red Tree and chirikli collectives. Hutchinson Lee was artistic director for chirikli’s community arts project Musaj te Dzav, as well as Red Tree’s Shukar Luluji/Beautiful Flower. She has exhibited in Canada, Latin America and Europe. The chirikli collective’s sound installation Canada Without Shadows was shown at the Roma Pavilion, 54th Venice Biennale; bak (basis voor aktuelle kunst), (Utrecht) and at Romania’s National Museum of Contemporary Art. Her two site-specific installations, in collaboration with Amanda Hale, Ololo and Elemental, were exhibited at Galería Casa Guayasamín (Havana). In 2014 her solo exhibition, metanoia, showed at The Workers’ Arts and Heritage Centre (Hamilton) and in 2015, chirikli’s Musaj to Dzav was exhibited at Gallery 50 (Toronto).