Share your story
My three brothers, my sister, and I were born and raised in Edmonton. We are descendants of Laurent and Eleanor Garneau. What is now called the Garneau neighbourhood was once their river lot. I spent a great deal of my youth in the River Valley. That landscape is woven with memories.
Each of the 400 Tawatina Bridge paintings is painted on shaped Dibond panels. Each shape refers to local animals, plants, and to Métis and First Nations historical material culture. The interiors of these shapes will be painted with imagery and patterns related to Indigenous aspects of the region. One panel, for example, features the silhouette of a Northern Pike while the interior shows a map of 1880s Edmonton emphasizing the French/Métis style river lots. Another has the form of an ancient First Nations pot with the inside depicting local medicines. In addition, I will tell some family stories related to Laurent Garneau’s role in the two Métis Resistances, his friendship with Chief Papaschase, and a story about Eleanor’s quick thinking with a wash board. Ranging from 16cm x 5cm to more than 2.5 x 2.5 m, the paintings will be arranged to suggest the flow and interconnectedness of people, animals, the river, clouds, and time.
I am looking for stories and images that need to be remembered on this site. I am consulting with local Métis and First Nations elders for stories and appropriate knowledge, but I would also like to code the panels with other stories, a few personal stories of, for instance: romance on the previous bridge (as expressed in the carvings on the railings); people who lived ‘rough’ in the River valley…. I am especially interested in tattoos, fabric patterns, and other images that could represent people who have passed and had a strong association with the River valley.
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