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Crafting Identity

Crafting Identity

Heidi McKenzie's "Family Matters"

By Lera Kotsyuba

There is a familiarity and wonder to objects that you can hold in your hands. Heidi McKenzie’s work occupies the liminal space between the familiar and fine craft, with objects that recall domestic furnishings, childhood toys, and the all-important photograph. Familiar objects elevated into ceramics. Touch, with its haptic nature, its presence in an echo of an object, recalls what we have lost and what has become all the more precious to us because of the Covid-19 pandemic. This sense of touch is one of the key ways in which we relate to family and one another. In her 2019 exhibition "Family Matters", last summer at the Gardiner Museum Shop in Toronto, McKenzie explored familial ties and her own mixed-race identity through the lens of domestic objects by an implied tactile nature inherent to clay. "Family Matters" is a deeply personal narrative, decolonizing the gallery space: the body of work exalts family history in placing the image as a form of public archive, and as a form of reclaiming public space, wherein family narrative is interwoven with ceramic objects to recreate the exhibition space beyond colonial resistance, into a future of potential wherein mixed-race identity is framed in new ways.

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Rungh 7.4




October 2020

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