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  • Writer's pictureRhonda Barrett

Home is where the heART is: the inspiration

I just listed the pieces from this collection in my shop, and perhaps you'd like to know why those images were chosen.

I wanted to create a collection of works that explored the culture, traditions and identity of both my province of birth, Newfoundland, and the province I now call home, Nova Scotia. Both surrounded by the Atlantic ocean on Canada's east coast, the provinces have been shaped by life on the sea. Boats on the water being a common sight, these symbols of our interaction with the water had to be included. 'Newfoundland Dory' and 'The Cape Islander' show a typical boat used by both provinces.

Rugged shoreline and miles of coastline are similarities. The proximity to the sea, the seafaring peoples, and the need to help them manage the shoreline in all weather brought me to the lighthouses. 'Good Morning Cape Spear' was created to celebrate one of Newfoundland's most famous lighthouses, but also, the most eastern piece of land in Canada. 'Good Night Peggy's Cove' is a nod to the lighthouse in the quaint village of Peggy's Cove and how there is always a light in the sky guiding sailors here as well. These structures speak to our common pasts, but also, how they are used as part of the tourism industry today in each location.

Tourism usually involves the experience of enjoying local food and tradition in a way that the native population feels would be satisfying and memorable. Both provinces are blessed with a selection of seafood that would make your mouth water. Newfoundland, long associated with the cod, has many traditional ways to serve up a fish. Drying fish on flakes though, making it easier to store throughout winter, will always be a memory for me. So, 'Fish Flakes of Tilting' is a snap shot of that memory. In Nova Scotia, it's not hard to find a vendor selling lobster, but, the Shore Club on the South Shore often pairs this with live music for a truly maritime experience. 'Shore Club Lobster' is a platter of delicious covered in butter, get your bib!

And that brings me to the people.

Long hailed for their hospitality and humour, the people of both provinces have a reputation for being fun-loving and generous. I decided to highlight the Newfoundland tradition of 'screeching in' visitors to the province, because it truly does make people laugh and feel like they are welcome. Typically it is followed by a 'Sociable!' toast, in which the whole of the pub takes part in the merriment. This welcoming of sorts happens in Nova Scotia too. All across the province you can find musicians who will flip a bucket and sit down to play a tune. The fiddle being a favorite instrument to whip people into the mood for dance and laughter. 'Jigs and Reels' is my way of capturing the truly stunning talents and joy created by the people here.

So, where is home? What makes a home?

For me, it is where my heart feels full and I am close to the ocean, the lifestyle associated with that, and where art is in abundance. It is where good people and good food co-exist. It is where my families are. It is where I feel a peace in my heart and the breeze and salty air on my skin.

Check out the collection here. 'Home is where the heART is'

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