About Riverworks

Prince Edward Island has over 1100 km of highly erodible sandstone coastline. The island’s shorelines face significant threat and degradation due to their sensitivity to sea level rise, storms and increased development.

Riverworks is a new initiative by The River Clyde Pageant and Creative PEI in which three artists will create outdoor public artworks exploring ecological transformation through their distinct creative practices. Each artwork will be installed at one of three living shorelines in Charlottetown and Stratford.

Living Shorelines

Living shorelines are a nature-based solution to coastline protection. Mimicking natural processes, living shorelines slow erosion and are made with natural, biodegradable materials, such as woody debris, planted native species of trees, shrubs and grasses, all of which stabilize the shoreline. Living shorelines are a soft approach alternative to hard approaches which involve hardened structures such as seawalls, rock armouring or bulkheads. Although such structures may adequately mitigate shoreline retreat, the ecological damages that result from their presence can be significant. Living Shorelines protect people, create habitat and demonstrate a new working relationship with the more-than-human world.

The Organizers

The living shorelines initiative is led by the PEI Watershed Alliance, the City of Charlottetown, and the Town of Stratford, supported by the federal government’s Climate Action Fund.

The Artists

The River Clyde Pageant and Creative PEI are pleased to announce the three Riverworks artists: Doug Dumais, Kirstie McCallum and Alexis Bulman. Beginning this July and unfolding over the coming months, each artist will create and present installation-based artworks that engage with the living shoreline projects and the natural environment. Artworks by Dumais and McCallum were selected by the Riverworks jury as part of a competitive public call for submissions. Bulman’s artwork is supported in part by the UPEI ClimateSense program.

About Shoreline Palimpsest

Location of artwork: QEH shoreline
Artwork dates: Two performances to occur, the first one takes place over three consecutive days, July 16th, July 17th, July 18th from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm each day. Second set of performance dates to be announced.

Shoreline Palimpsest is a photographic performance inspired by shoreline monitoring. For this project, I will build a makeshift artist studio at the shore, which will serve as the site of a five-day performance. This mobile studio will consist of a 6x6x6-feet wooden frame which will contain the essentials of a photographer’s studio: a table, camera, tripod, laptop, small backdrop, battery-powered printer, and lights. I will use photography and poetry to document the daily, hourly, or even minute-by-minute changes along one section of the coast.

During these five days, I will move my studio up and down the shore according to the tides and photograph the beach and the plants, sands, animals, flotsam, and other materials on it. After editing these images and then printing them in the mobile studio, I will note the changes I have observed and write original poems directly on the prints. I will have the opportunity to engage with the public, discuss living shorelines, and offer free prints to visitors. The project’s open-ended nature will allow for direct collaboration with the coastline as I respond to this continually changing environment.

Shoreline Palimpsest is about the value of careful and attentive observation of natural processes, as well as the difficulty of synthesizing and communicating these observations to the public. The result of this experiment will be a reflective narrative of five days in the life of the coast, which will serve as a record of the natural and artificial changes that took place. This micro-scale coastal inventory will evoke the vast, macro-scale erosion and transformation on shorelines over centuries or millennia: time frames that are incomprehensible on a human scale but are essential to consider in personal and political decisions.

This project is not a permanent public art installation. This performance is designed as a temporary intervention that ebbs, flows, retreats, and reacts as needed to the reality of coastal environments. In addition, the camera is an apparatus that creates images that mimic nature. The act of photography thus resembles living shorelines, which also mimic the natural world.

The goal of Shoreline Palimpsest is to temporarily intervene in the social landscape of the coastline without permanently adding or removing anything. Instead, what will be left behind is impressions upon visitors and a photographic and poetic archive that can be revisited or exhibited later.

Doug Dumais

Doug Dumais is an emerging photographer, art educator, and poet living in Prince Edward Island. A self-taught artist, Dumais holds a Masters degree in Art History from Concordia University (2019). He has exhibited at ARTCH Montréal, Galerie La Castiglione, and has a forthcoming solo exhibition with this town is small. His work is held in private collections in Ontario and Quebec. His scholarly writing, photography, and poetry have been featured in art publications across Canada and in the United States.

Fascinated with human and animal interventions on the urban and natural landscape, Dumais uses the camera as a tool to facilitate radical acts of noticing and attentiveness. Using photography, he documents locations undergoing drastic changes such as construction sites, greenspaces slated for development, or intangible spaces found in historical texts or digital software. In the studio, Dumais digitally manipulates his images by juxtaposing them with historical paintings, layering them with poetry, or transforming them into impossible spaces. This lyrical editing process draws out hidden narratives within his images and transforms them into material conduits for abstract concepts such as time, meaning-making, or the influence of one’s surroundings on identity formation.

This approach materializes the invisible connections between places and their inhabitants, artworks and their viewers, or texts and their readers. Dumais’ manipulated photographs of the ambient spaces humans occupy, traverse, or overlook are footholds in the process of becoming deeply aware of the overlapping histories and subjectivities present within the built and natural environment.

Doug’s Social Media: @dougdumais
Doug’s website: www.dougdumais.com

About Lillian’s Place

Location of artwork: Stratford Waterfront Park
Artwork dates: Artwork will be installed by July 14th

Lillian’s Place, is a sculpture, an art installation and a performance all at once. Constructed it will take the form of a small wooden house, situated on an embankment where it will live in tandem with a living shoreline along the Hillsborough River. Lillian’s Place will experience the fullness of each season. Planted wildflowers will bloom, leaves will change color and fall, and blankets of snow will cover the house structure. As years pass the structure will age and its once young, bright wood will turn a weathered grey color. Like dilapidated barns in the country, this artwork may someday slump and fall into the earth, returning to the place from which it’s building materials once came. If the living shoreline is supported and maintained, the established ecosystem should live on, nourished, not harmed, by Lillian’s Place. Lilian’s Place will be an artwork in flux, a place where flowers grow, and a place where flowers are laid in remembrance. It will teeter on the edge of a shore, and co-exist with a living shoreline that stabilizes the shore, striving to balance hope and loss, life and death, and past and future, all while posing the question “How can we ensure the land we call home outlives the structures of houses?”

Alexis Bulman

Alexis Bulman is an interdisciplinary artist based in Epekwitk’/ Prince Edward Island.

Through performance, sculpture, and installations she explores themes of trust, care, and the negotiations of access in public and private spaces. Bulman’s work relies on movement, gestures, and the instincts of her body to inform her conversations with places. She holds a BFA from NSCAD University.

Bulman has presented work at Artspace (ON), The Confederation Centre Art Gallery (PEI), and The Robert McLaughlin Gallery (ON). She was the inaugural artist in residence for the Interrogating Access Residency supported by OBORO and Spectrum Productions (QC). Currently, Bulman works as a ClimateSense Intern with The School of Climate Change and Adaptation, a position where she creates community-engaged artwork about Climate Change and Adaptation in PEI, such as her Riverworks project, Lillian’s Place.

Alexis’ social media: @alexisbulman
Alexis’ website: alexisbulman.com

Pollinator Clock by Kristie McCullum

Location of artwork: Tea Hill Park
Artwork dates: To Be Announced

Pollinator Clock is designed to give back to the earth, by delivering pollinator seed and soil enhancements to the meadow where it is installed, in Tea Hill. The work consists of 12 baskets (woven from red osier dogwood, raspberry cane, and other native plants) installed in the pattern of a circular clock-face. A sapling planted in the circle will represent the centre of a sundial. Each basket will be filled with local flower seed and bulbs mixed with soil, seaweed, and compost. Over time the baskets will break open, and the plants will disperse across the site. This will encourage the growth of wildflowers along the shoreline, inviting insects and birds to reinhabit the area. The Pollinator Clock also functions as a space of contemplation for human visitors, who can walk or sit in the shelter of this organic sculpture. The metaphor behind Pollinator Clock is a move from clock time to cyclical time. It begins with the rigidity of the human daily grind but as it decays it adapts to the slower cycle of the growing season. Pollinator Clock speaks to the urgency around climate adaptation: is time for change running out? Or can we use our arts and sciences to orient ourselves more closely to living systems, finding a balance between human and natural time?

Kirstie McCallum

Kirstie McCallum investigates human relationships with the more-than-human, through carefully researched sculptural installations. She blurs the boundaries between functional objects, organisms, and cultural artifacts, presenting them equally for the viewer’s gaze. By integrating organic and inorganic matter, her work asserts that human craftsmanship and natural growth-and-decay should be understood together, as aspects of wider planetary cycles. Kirstie has an MFA from OCAD University. She has exhibited her work at the New Gallery in Calgary, The Banff Centre Project Space, The Red Head Gallery in Toronto, and in a group durational performance at The Darling Foundry in Montreal. Kirstie works for NSCAD University and runs artistic projects in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

Artist website: https://a3164412bdde.myportfolio.com/portfolio-2020
Artist instagram: @kiss_off_katie