Santiago Mostyn: Grass Widows

Santiago Mostyn, Grass Widows, 2020, installation view. Photo: Blaine Campbell

Santiago Mostyn: Grass Widows

Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge, AB - To Sep 10

by Robin Laurence

The meanings and derivations of the term “grass widow” are complex. However, the definition Santiago Mostyn employs in his mixed-media installation has to do with a woman whose husband is away for a prolonged period of time. Mostyn, a multidisciplinary artist who grew up in Zimbabwe and Tobago and is based in Sweden, employs the grass widow metaphor in the context of slavery and the African diaspora to signify displacement or “in-between-ness.” Among other components, his work uses archival images to explore the history of Black Americans from Oklahoma who homesteaded in northern Alberta in the early 20th century, as well as his own father’s reverse migration, from the United States to Africa.

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