Willows and Watersheds: The Grand River Landscape

  grand-river-web-image   The Grand River has held many names for many years. In Mohawk language the river is known as O:se Kenhionhata:tie meaning “Willow River”; after French colonists arrived in Southwestern Ontario they dubbed it “La Rapide” or “ La Grande-Rivière”; later still English colonist John Graves Simcoe retitled it “The Ouse” after an English river of the same name. And after all this, after all these titles and descriptions, the river is a constant that continues to run from the north to the south, taking twists and turns along the way. Beginning in Dundalk and flowing into the waters of Lake Erie, The Grand River stretches nearly 300 kilometres and boasts a fascinating agricultural, cultural, and social history that stresses its importance to Ontario and its identity. Today, The Grand River watershed faces numerous threats relating to conservation, pollution, and development, which have thrown its future sustainability to question. The artists gathered in this exhibition – Keith Shearsby, Jim Blomfield, Robert Achtemichuk, and Gerard Brender à Brandis – strive to represent the character, beauty, and spirit of The Grand River during a crucial point in its unfolding history. Through various mediums, including acrylic, watercolour, and wood engraving, The Grand River emerges as a muse and as an old friend that captures our attention and appreciation.