The Bigger Picture

The Bigger Picture, collage and glass mosaic, 12″ x 16″, 2019 – Collaboration with Karen Ylitalo of Studio K Mosaics

Our local landscape holds a story of beauty that is often told and retold through the arts – medium after medium, time after time. It is a story that is at once both a longing and a memory. For Sudburians, this story is one of destruction – of lust and loss, industry and progress and the fall out. At the same time, our story is one of reclamation – of realization, restoration and renewal. We’ve blackened this landscape and sprouted a new future but none of that exists in a bubble. Beneath the surface of the before and after, the here and now, there is far more than what meets the eye. 

As your eyes trace the tree line and you are graced with the breathtaking beauty of our home, the light reflecting off the water that flows through our lakes and rivers and creeks, do you find yourself thinking of the slag? Do you remember or imagine the vastness of the black rock? The tailings ponds and their intoxicating glow? If the sulphur in our bones leaves you breathless, remember that there is growth here – because of and despite – there is now and there always was. 

The direction of progress may change over time but what stays the same is the desire to do better. To be able to look backwards, forwards, underneath and around – to examine the microscopic details and relate those findings to the biggest picture we can capture of our little crater – is both a blessing and a curse. Our history and our future is not all black and white. It is stained and tinted with the most vibrant hopes and dreams of the people who live it – who have been living in it. 

Our landscape is both mosaic and collage. The layers and nuances may confuse and contort but the story is rich and worthy of our exploration and preservation. Our community was built on venturing below the surface and our landscape was shaped by forces beyond the stars. This picture of ours is bigger than we can even imagine and it is our responsibility, as artists, to capture it.

Sydney and Karen