Books·Canadian

Creation

A comic by Sylvia Nickerson.

A new mother takes us on a tour of Hamilton, a Rust Belt city born of the Industrial Revolution and dying a slow death due to globalization. This mother represents the city's next wave of inhabitants — the artists and young parents who swarm a run-down area for its affordability, inevitably reshaping the neighbourhoods they take over. Creation looks at gentrification from the inside out — an artist mother making a home and neighborhood for her family, struggling to find her place amid the existing and emerging communities.

While pushing her child's stroller around Hamilton, Nickerson shows us the warehouse filled with open barrels of toxic sludge, the parking lot where the city's homeless population sleeps, and the refurbished Victorian house (complete with elegant chandeliers) that is now a state-of-the-art yoga studio. Creation presents the city as a living thing — a place where many small lives intersect and where death, motherhood, pollution, poverty and violence are all interconnected. (From Drawn & Quarterly)

Why Sylvia Nickerson wrote Creation

 

"I came to Hamilton looking to be an artist and I did find it to be an inspiring place. I wanted to write a story from here because it shaped me over time. As an artist moving in, I had dreams. I also participated in 'let's improve the neighborhood' projects and 'let's make a mural' and a lot of community art projects. Over time, there have been changes in the neighborhood in terms of more outside interests coming to the neighborhood from developers, entrepreneurs and small business and people moving from Toronto because they're being priced out of that city. There's almost a domino effect in terms of how rent and land values affect people in a sort of economic migration.

I was thinking about responsibility and both winning and losing on the part of the artists and the community at large and how complicated it gets.- Sylvia Nickerson

"Before I lived in Hamilton, I lived in Halifax in the North End. It went through a similar cycle of artists moving in and then businesses following suit. As an artist, you can sometimes come in and devote a lot of free or cheap labour to these projects and then whatever capital that you build can be bought and sold through real estate markets or other kinds of markets, from which most of the time artists don't benefit. I was thinking about responsibility and both winning and losing on the part of the artists and the community at large and how complicated it gets."

Read more in her interview with CBC Books.

From the book

An excerpt from Creation by Sylvia Nickerson. (Drawn & Quarterly)

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