Until May 3, 2016, the urban area of Fort McMurray and the Regional District of Wood Buffalo were basically known for one thing - the oil patch. Described as the economic engine of Canada the story of Fort McMurray - a narrative of migrant workers; enormous wages; and high prices - was either praised or reviled by the rest of Alberta’s population, across the nation and internationally. On May 3, 2016, a new chapter was added to this story: the devastating Fort McMurray wildfire which gave birth to new perceptions of the region.
The story of Fort McMurray and Wood Buffalo, however, is about much more than oil or devastation. As tragic as the fire of 2016 was and while the oil industry continues to drive the economy of the region, these are only two aspects of life in the north-eastern part of Alberta.
The exhibition Beyond ‘the patch’ Stories from Wood Buffalo examines this little known region, investigating what it has to offer and what it is like to call this area home as these themes are expressed by five artists from the Wood Buffalo region. Through their works these artists share what they see and experience, inviting viewers to travel beyond the conventional chronicles of ‘rig pigs’ and pipelines and offering opportunities for the creation of more profound narratives.
Curated by Shane Golby, Art Gallery of Alberta (TREX Region 2) and Ana Maria Mendez-Barks (Manager, Arts & Culture, Regional Recreation Corporation of Wood Buffalo)
20 art works
2 text panels
75 running feet
3 medium crates