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Passing Parade by Anne Meredith Barry


Self-styled "The Rock", this island of Newfoundland has four dramatically different seasons, biblically turbulent weather, and is heart-breakingly beautiful. It is also worlds apart from the big-city life of my earlier years. In the little outport of St. Michaels, my studio and home are perched on a cliff overlooking the ocean and the famous sea-bird islands, with wild roses, whales and icebergs in season. Many of my neighbours were inshore fisher-folk, their lives related to where they lived. By the time I moved here in 1987, things had changed dramatically from my visit years before. Now everyone has TV, cars, and microwaves - while kids work on their own computers and are bussed to large district schools. But in other ways small communities stayed the same and parents fished in their own boats, or worked in the fishplants. Then I watched as life changed dramatically, as small inshore boats couldn't compete with the new mammoth international factory-draggers which started scraping the oceans bare of all living things. Every day I saw the little trap-skiffs returning to the docks with fewer and fewer fish. Finally in early 1990's, a moratorium on the cod fishery signalled that the end had come. There simply were no more cod. A way of life that had been brought with the European settlers and existed generation-to-generation for over 500 years, came to an abrupt halt. Still emerging from shock, people are learning to redirect their lives, and instead of being a fishing community St. Michael's is now a dormitory to the City of St. John's, with many of it's inhabitants commuting. Small businesses are starting up, and trap-skiffs have been turned into tourist tour-boats for whale, iceberg and bird-watching. Of course, these drastic changes are also a part of my life. As an image-maker, concepts that affect me deeply eventually appear in my work, and the woodblock "PASSING PARADE” is one of these. In particular it remembers the cod-fishing moratorium and wonders about the future of all of those other species of fish that the international draggers are scraping up now that the cod are gone.
Artist:Anne Meredith Barry
Artwork type:woodblock print
Style/Period:Later than Yesterday
Material:ink on paper
Measurements:580 x 760 mm
Technique:screen print and stencil
Date:1994
Location:private collection
Culture:Newfoundland, Canada
Rights owner:Anne Meredith Barry
Rights status:UK HE use only
Institution:University of Ulster
Notes:This work was in reaction to the problems created by the fishing moratorium imposed on the coastal communities across Newfoundland.
Created in a shared grief of the social and emotional consequences that this legislation's impact made irrevocably on families in Newfoundland.

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