Cemeteries are places we visit to honour loved ones who have passed. They are spaces where we reflect on their life and cherish memories. But have you ever thought of cemeteries as places to learn about Edmonton’s history?
That was the purpose of Edmonton’s first artist-in-residence program and Candace Makowichuk was the perfect candidate. Candace sees cemeteries as a place where stories can be told through art and wanted to share the beauty of each City of Edmonton cemetery through her work.
Makowichuk always found cemeteries and the histories that weave through them interesting. She recalls spending time as a child riding through them on her bike, taking note of the detailed intricacies on tombstones, the surrounding foliage, and the many tokens left behind by loved ones.
Makowichuk beat out over 100 applicants for the inaugural artist-in-residence spot, and spent the past 10 months finding inventive ways to tell the stories of seven different cemeteries, and one traditional burial ground.
She started by photographing the symbols found on tombstones, noting that as each has its own meaning and is always carefully considered within the entirety of the design. For the tombstones that were too difficult to photograph due to aging, Makowichuk turned to making rubbings, then photographing those rubbings.
This residency also gave Makowichuk the opportunity to explore techniques she’s always wanted to use, specifically liquid silver emulsion. This approach requires a dark room process, and some improvisation on her end to find the right tools to get the desired result.
You can view some of Makowichuk’s work on her Instagram account. Her photography show, Time Passes Love Remains, is on display at City Hall through May 21.