Artwork by Martha Cole
About Martha Cole
I often define myself as a landscape-based artist whose roots are deeply buried in Saskatchewan soil. I have returned to this theme many times, always exploring and deepening my connection to the land I call home. Sometimes I’ve focused on the vastness and expansiveness of the prairie panorama, other times on the complexity and subtlety of the grasses and other flora. Whatever the focus, this land has continued to challenge and inspire me.
“Diversification”, a term usually applied economically or environmentally and often cited as the determiner of healthy sustainability, can also be applied to the cultural sector. In my travels around the province and across Canada, I have witnessed and interacted with many distinct vibrant arts communities. David Suzuki once said that the popular slogan “Think globally, act locally” often leaves us overwhelmed. Instead, we should “Think locally, act locally”. If we did this, it would change the world. Witnessing this cultural vibrancy wherever I went has led to a clearer distinction between ‘culture making’ and ‘art making’ in my own art practice and has affirmed my belief that I must ground my work where I live.
I have gained a deeper understanding of “power of place”.
As an “art maker”, I believe that art and visual images carry in them the power to generate change if they are created with honouring and respectful intention. Therefore, I try to create images that are beautiful, reflective of my values, and accessible both visually and intellectually. I hope to show aspects of the prairies that are both new and familiar to my viewers. I want them to experience the broad, expansive “power of place” that is so characteristic of the prairies as well as the small, fragile and vulnerable within the wide sweep of this landscape.
As a “culture maker”, I am committed to effecting change in our society. I have chosen to place my work here – where I live. I want these images to resonate, to affirm and deepen a personal connection in each of us to this land. I believe that if we can learn to love this land we cannot help but work to save it, thereby saving ourselves in the process.