Illuminating the Diary of Alda Dale Randall solo exhibit

Illuminating the Diary of Alda Dale Randall exhibit by Marlena Wyman

Provincial Archives of Alberta: 8555 Roper Road, Edmonton, AB

Exhibit dates: February 2 – August 20, 2016

Opening reception: February 10, 2016

Exhibit description

Marlena Wyman Artist’s Statement:

We interpret our memories and identities in part through traces of past lives. A haunting photograph or a handwritten passage in the diary of a long dead stranger can create a profound personal connection. The archival documents of early women settlers speak of loneliness and isolation, pride in work and new-found abilities, and the vastness and harshness of the prairie landscape.

In my former work as an archivist, I found that one of the significant gaps in archival collections is that of women’s stories. In particular, the voice of early prairie women is largely excluded from mainstream history.

As an artist, I honour these women’s considerable contributions, advocate for their rightful place in history, and encourage women to deposit their own and their foremothers’ records in archives.

The Diary:

 The diary of Alda Dale Randall, held in the collection of the Provincial Archives of Alberta, is a remarkably detailed account of a year (1920) on the family’s homestead near High Prairie, Alberta. Her descriptions of day to day life are revealing of the physical challenges and of the rawness of emotions that balanced precariously between hope and despair.

Randall’s diary was a rich source of inspiration for me and a challenge to limit the passages that I selected for my artworks.

Photographic enlargements of the pages from Randall’s diary that inspired me are exhibited alongside my artworks.

I know, no more than you, how this story is coming out but I shall write it day by day and we shall see what we shall see with a wee bit of prayer that it may be brave and bright.

    • Alda Dale Randall diary, 1920   Acc. PR1994.0202

 All framed works are monotype, oil stick and oil pastel on encaustic and paper support.