My grandmother, Marjorie Evelyn Maynard passed away just over a month ago on March 30th, 2017. Born on June 10th, 1924, Gran spent her 92 years living on the Caribbean island of Antigua, near the capital city of St. John's.
Over the years, my family and I have made many trips to visit my grandmother and the rest of my extended family in Antigua, and my grandmother, even into her later years would visit her grandchildren in Minnesota for special occasion and big events in our lives.
Both of my parents grew up in Antigua, and immigrated to the United States before any of their children were born. Growing up in Minnesota, removed from most of our extended family has taking the lives of my siblings and I on a different path than if we had grown up in Antigua, and has meant that even with periodical communication and visits, our daily lives are disconnected from those of our cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents.
My grandmother had been coming to terms with her advanced age for quite some time. Last month, as I was developing the concepts and artwork for my recent show, I had the good fortune to talk with her over Skype several times before she passed. I was interested in creating maps to reflect both the physical topography and firsthand experiences of those who live in Antigua and my home of Cottage Grove, MN. I interviewed Gran several times to ask her about her life growing up in St. John's, and what the city and other parts of the island were like. Her stories create beautiful images of the spaces she inhabited throughout her life. She describes how those places transformed through time, and how they influenced her development throughout her long life.
I included this recording with my maps of Antigua in my current exhibition at the Rochester Art Center, and I offer it here as a tribute to my grandmother. As it runs about 1 and 1/2 hours, I invite you to skip around within the recording and drop in on different parts of my grandmothers stories, or turn it on in the background and let the atmosphere of Antigua envelop you.