Diana Chisholm’s work on display at EAGM

The newest exhibit in the Estevan Art Gallery and Museum’s (EAGM) Gallery No. 1 is courtesy of a former local resident who received inspiration for the exhibit while living in the Energy City.

A reception was held for Diana Chisholm’s Delete if not Aloud on Friday night. Chisholm came back to Estevan for the reception, and spoke to about 30 people, including numerous family and friends.

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Chisholm was the Estevan Arts Council’s artist in residence in 2015-16. When she moved to the city, she visited the Garage Sale Estevan Facebook page to furnish her home.

“I began to take a closer look at how people use Facebook buy and sell groups, and was intrigued by some of the posts and the way people use those sites to buy and sell things that they maybe no longer need, or could have another use,” she told the Mercury.

She was also interested in some of the photos of objects that were actually beautiful images.

“So I started recreating some of the posts that I found more intriguing or interesting,” she said.

Arriving in Estevan about a year after the economic downturn began, she thought a lot of the images she saw were reflective of Estevan at that time.

She also found humour in a lot of the posts. The first post that piqued her interest was a post with no image for a cat litter box filled with hair products. It generated more than a dozen comments.

One exhibit is a container with coveralls, which stemmed from one of the entries that she saw, and she believes reflected the times due to the downturn.

Then there was another photo of somebody’s wall during a renovation. The post said that if someone wanted the insulation inside the wall, they would come and take it themselves. Delete if not Aloud has slabs of insulation on one of the EAGM’s walls.

“For me this then became a conversation between me and the people of Estevan, in terms of finding all of the items that work,” she said.

Chisholm’s exhibit
Chisholm’s exhibit features items inspired by what she saw on an online garage sale site in Estevan.

Chisholm has been on buy and sell sites across the country. Some communities have lots of networks, and they’re all unique.

“It was important to me that wherever this show goes, that the items that are in the exhibition are actually reflective of the community it’s in,” she said.

The items that are in Delete if not Aloud will be available in the EAGM’s fundraising garage sale later this year.

Chisholm said she has a keen interest in place and land, and the way people delineate spaces, but she tends to take an industrial perspective. It started with an exploration of the rural area where she grew up in Nova Scotia.

“I don’t look at industry, or work with industry, in kind of a protest way. I actually think it’s very beautiful,” she said. “So when I got to Estevan, I started exploring and looking at the industrial nature of Estevan.”

While in Estevan, she took photos of a decommissioned dragline, and took a tour of the local mine sites.

After wrapping up her term as Estevan’s artist in residence, Chisholm had a brief stint working with the Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils. Then she and her partner, David Dyck, who is from Estevan, relocated to the west coast of Newfoundland.

She currently splits time between Corner Brook and Woody Point.

Dyck still has family in Estevan, and Chisholm enjoyed visiting with them and other friends in the community while in Estevan.

“It’s been nice to be back and see lots of familiar faces,” said Chisholm.

Delete if not Aloud will remain on display at the EAGM until March 29.

© Copyright Estevan Mercury

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