Over the past 10 years, Regina artist Heather Cline has been gathering stories from people across Canada. She asks them about their memories, their work, love and places that are special to them. Then she takes these everyday stories and turns them into beautiful paintings.
'For her, the Canadian experience was exotic. Sometimes when we see our world through other's eyes, it changes how we see ourselves.' - Heather Cline
The result is Quiet Stories from Canadian Places, a massive exhibition combining more than 50 paintings with audio from some of the hundreds of stories she has collected.
Cline's eyes shine when she talks about the story from an immigrant woman in rural Saskatchewan who went ice fishing on a lake for the first time and was excited to catch her first fish, despite being terrified that the truck would fall through the water.
"For her, the Canadian experience was exotic. Sometimes when we see our world through other's eyes, it changes how we see ourselves," said Cline.
Cline interviewed hundreds of people, starting with how they got their name.
"It immediately had them talking about their family and early history and it got them thinking about their own lives," she said.
Cline tried to include a diversity of experience in the stories she collected, from people struggling financially to newcomers to Canada to people dealing with issues around race or sexuality.
Making the ordinary extraordinary
Cline says painting everyday places, such as a bus stop or a gas station, helps people value them.
"I really wanted to take everyday places and then paint them very beautifully, and that kind of elevated them and gave them more meaning."
Cline says suburban areas with corner stores, country roads or a small-town main streets make up the fabric of our lives: "They are the places that things that are important to us happen."
Quiet Stories from Canadian Places is being shown at Slate Fine Art Gallery and the Dunlop Art Gallery Sherwood Branch. The Dunlop exhibition will run from Jan. 13 to March 14.
The opening reception is at Slate Fine Art Gallery on Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 pm.