Artwork > Salt-Stained Streaks of a Worthwhile Grief

Alana Bartol, 3-minute edit of Forgetting Fields II, 2022, HD, 40:13
Nancy Tam, 3-minutes of Beyond Dawn, 2021, binaural meditation, 09:03

Drawings of plants on water-soluble paper dissolve in water. In this work, water becomes a collaborator, destroying the drawings in unpredictable ways. Many of the drawings re-form as if by magic, speaking to a process of restoration, natural cycles of renewal and growth, and the intelligence of plants.

This work is inspired by the water stewardship in Comox/Courtenay, BC, the ancestral and Unceded traditional territory of the K’ómoks First Nation, being undertaken by settlers and Indigenous peoples through habitat restoration and protection education, for the K’ómoks Estuary.

The plant species, illustrated by Bartol, reference the watershed restoration work of the Comox Valley Naturalist Society Wetland Restoration Project and Project Watershed. The plants were selected from a list documenting common plants in the Hollyhock Flats, a reference site in the K'omoks estuary for Kus-Kus-Sum, a watershed restoration project to restore the Field Sawmill site. The title is a reference to the former name of the sawmill and a call to action.

The final drawing represents the steel-piling wall that has remained in place throughout the restoration process of Kus-Kus-Sum. The removal of the steel-piling wall is said to be the last step in the restoration process yet the restoration work will be ongoing for many decades as the plants, water, and wildlife return.

Created for the Fathom Sounds exhibition Salt-Stained Streaks of a Worthwhile Grief at Comox Valley Art Gallery. In the exhibition, companion pieces to this work are Nancy Tam’s Beyond Dawn, providing an ethereal soundscape for the video (included here), and Letters to Water, a participatory artwork created by Alana Bartol and Genevieve Robertson.

To learn more and support the restoration project visit: