Lisa Mayes (b.1975, Edmonton, AB, Canada) born of Acadian, African American, Muscogee Creek, Irish and Scottish heritage lives and works in Montreal. Mayes produces multidisciplinary works about diaspora, the other, place and heritage affected by intergenerational trauma. By situating herself as the storyteller, Mayes effectively reclaims the story and subverts established narratives to make room for the other and welcomes a reimagined place with inclusion. Since the late 1990’s Mayes has been an interdisciplinary artist with a background in theatre, dance and visual arts.
My practice examines manifestations of narrative, belonging, colonial legacy and the rendering of the notions of truth. Inspired by the interactions of production of knowledge, artifacts, folk literature, visual culture and how they interact with social constructs and our environment. My practice unfolds new narratives through installation, video, painting and sculpture. The works; Red White & Blue, Mardi Gras, Grandmother and Great Expectations, perform like entries in a journal that contain rituals for reclamation.
This work is stylistically inspired by Romanticism, a movement that emerged in the late 18th century that opposed material changes in society and the increased use of fossil fuels. Romanticism is also argued by some to be the origin of environmentalist thought. This work is related to the building practices of Mound Builders, Indigenous groups who built earthworks and lived along flood plains of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. The building up of land around a home on a flood plain rather than building on a mound as Indigenous populations did, demonstrates or calls into question why traditional knowledge has been rejected. It is an acknowledgment of the ancestral lands of the modern tribes who are descendants of the Mound Builders which include the Cherokee, Muscogee Creek, Fox, Osage, Seminole and Shawnee.