‘Corn­wal­lis has got to go ’

New Mi’kmaq art cel­e­brated at Com­mon

Metro Canada (Halifax) - - NEWS - Zane Wood­ford Metro | Hal­i­fax

Teresa Mar­shall’s new art in­stal­la­tion on the Hal­i­fax Com­mon is her way of re­claim­ing her an­ces­tral land from the city’s con­tro­ver­sial founder, Ed­ward Corn­wal­lis.

Mar­shall’s piece, The Mi’kmaq Uni­verse, is etched into con­crete at the Creighton Fields Gate­way to the Com­mon, at the top of Corn­wal­lis Street on North Park Street.

The pro­ject is a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the mu­nic­i­pal­ity and the Mi’kmaw Na­tive Friend­ship Cen­tre — one third of the pub­lic art com­po­nent of the in­stal­la­tion of the round­abouts at ei­ther end of North Park Street.

“It’s at the top of Corn­wal­lis Street and there’s been a lot of talk about the fella in the news of late,” Mar­shall, a Mi’kmaq woman from Mill­brook, said after a rib­bon-cut­ting cer­e­mony on Wednesday.

“Like dot­ting an ‘i,’ this is the best place to punc­tu­ate that we’re still here. We’re here and we’re not going any­where. We’re Mi’kmaq, and Corn­wal­lis has got to go.”

The mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s com­mem­o­ra­tion of Corn­wal­lis, from the street name to the park and statue bear­ing his name, has been a topic of de­bate for years, com­ing to a head this sum­mer with a protest at the statue. Regional coun­cil voted last week to strike a com­mit­tee to re­con­sider the use of his name on mu­nic­i­pal prop­erty.

“To me, to put this on top of Corn­wal­lis rather than he on me, I think it’s a good thing,” Mar­shall said of her piece.

“I’m tak­ing it back. This is my lit­tle land claim.”

Mar­shall worked with Clin­ton Hicks of Chemtech Con­crete So­lu­tions to find the per­fect type of ce­ment for the pro­ject. They used di­a­mond bits to etch her work into the sur­face, then coloured the ce­ment with stain and sealed it to pro­tect the piece.

It was the first time Mar­shall had etched her work into ce­ment, but not her first piece us­ing the medium.

“I’ve made sev­eral huge sculp­tures out of ce­ment,” she said. “Birds, and ca­noes, flag poles, tur­tles … It’s just won­der­ful stuff to work with.”

I’m tak­ing it back. this is my lit­tle land claim. teresa Mar­shall

Zane Wood­ford/metro

Mi’kmaq artist teresa Mar­shall and ce­ment tech­ni­cian clin­ton Hicks talk about the art in­stal­la­tion they cre­ated, the Mi’kmaq Uni­verse, at the top of corn­wal­lis Street. the art in­stal­la­tion is Mar­shall’s way of re­claim­ing her an­ces­tral land from the city’s con­tro­ver­sial founder, ed­ward corn­wal­lis.

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