The Bonnie Blink Project

Bonnie Blink Poster

The Bonnie Blink house was one of the first settler houses built on Manitoulin. The name Bonnie Blink means 'beautiful view'.  When the Robinson-Huron Treaty enabled white settlement on Manitoulin,  the original 15 acres of the farm was  purchased  by James Lewis in 1880, and stayed in the family until 1930 when it was purchased by Douglas Murray, who started Manitoulin Gardens, purchasing additional property until it was 100 acres. The house on the property variously housed its owners and descendants, as well as local and migrant workers. Located near the Sheguiandah First Nation, the property and this project present an important site from which geographers and artists will be able to interrogate land use history, immigrant and worker issues, and community stories about agriculture, culture and community.
Diana Parill, the current owner of the house approached 4e with a vision of running an arts project about the Bonnie Blink house and farm. After three years of dreaming, planning and co-ordination, we have an exciting, multi-facted community project.
Artists and geographers will be researching and mapping the physical history of the site, working with local archives and talking with community members about their knowledge of local histories. Community members are invited to share their stories, contribute to the mapping project and participate in the various activities that run throughout the program.    Drop in for a visit to see what the artists are up to. Talk to geographers about how they figure out land use history, and tag along with them on the site. Sign up for a workshop. Come to talk. Drop in to the Story Social and share a memory.

Artists Involved:

LEAD ARTIST Michael Belmore is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and graduated with an A.O.C.A. in sculpture/installation from the Ontario College of Art & Design in 1994. Belmore employs a variety of media in order to investigate our use of technology and how it has affected our relationship to the environment. It is through his use of materials that Belmore brings into account how we view nature as commodity.  Belmore's work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is represented in the permanent collections of various institutions and numerous private collections. He feels that the process of art making, more specifically the creation of outdoor art is a responsive action and is personal and often deeply rooted history. //

Ruta Tribinevicius is a multi-faceted, Manitoulin-based artist, working mainly in textile, print, and installation work. After completing a BFA at OCAD, with a major in printmaking, she relocated back to Manitoulin and runs Rue Studio, a multi-functioning arts centre in Sheguiandah.  Ruta cites garbage dumps, strange plants, fermentation, and unfathomable symbiotic behaviour as sources of inspiration. //

Lynda James: Since 1988 Lynda has maintained an active studio and teaching practice and participated in numerous local and regional shows. She was trained in Fine Arts at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia, Berkeley, Melbourne Australia, and at several colleges in Ontario. She is interested in using her knowledge of pottery to inquiry into the historic site of the Bonnie Blink house to understand stories of domestic and social activity.

Sophie Anne Edwards is an award-winning writer and artist. Her work explores the relationship between self/body and land/landscape. She is interested in troubling the landscape tradition by integrating historical, social, political and cultural texts and readings into her work. She works with site specific elements (geology, found materials, landscape images, cultural and settler history and texts. //

Heather Thoma has been a practicing weaver since 1995. Since 2010 Heather has been working on her Expressive Arts Certificate Program through the Haliburton School of Arts, and developing an artistic practice in textile art and installation/land art. Heather is interested in exploring the possibilities for low impact outdoor installations which will reveal, in an artistic way, the work that has taken place through the hands of farmers and gardeners within that landscape.

Lupe Pérez is a Montreal-based artist working in the fields of mixed-media drawing, collage, graphic and web design. Currently pursuing a Bachelor in Fine Arts she takes inspiration from the presences—both animate and inanimate, social and spectral—that comprise and emanate from the built environment. Her practice seeks to channel the use of textures, patterns and structures into emotional and social narratives, making use of traditional and digital tools in miniature-scale creations.

Danielle Bourgault works as a photographer engages recurring themes of landscapes, old and derelict buildings and barns, vacant building and cityscapes.  Her work centers on themes of history related to spaces and places.  Danielle works at capturing the evidence of lived-in places; old or broken down barns, buildings, old gravestones and graffiti fill her photos.