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Gwen Tuinman

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A Woman Looking Through a Window

Wouldn’t it be interesting if instead of writing our signatures, we were called upon to “sign” our names with a simple drawing of our choice? An image that represents us more accurately than an assemblance of letters? I know exactly what my drawing would be. A woman looking through a window.

In my mind, I carry so many snapshots, from over the years, of me looking through windows.

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First Art Piece

I read an essay recently in which the writer reflects on the first piece of art she’d ever bought as a young woman. The purchase of this large gaudy painting, she declared years later, made no sense then or now. She deemed the colours too bright, and the subject matter unaligned with her cultural identity. By the final paragraph, however, she concludes that the painting reflected her mood at the time of purchase.

It got me to thinking about the first art I’d purchased. It’s become such a part of my environ that I haven’t considered it for some time. The piece is a stone sculpture by George Henry. I acquired it around 1978 at the gallery in Whetung Ojibwa Centre of Curve Lake, Ontario.

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Essie

Essie was born in 1884. She was my great grandmother and a source of fascination for me as a child.

When visited her home as a young girl, I marvelled at the glass prisms lining her windows and the rainbows cast along her walls. Essie served sultanas and pink marshmallow cookies sprinkled with coconut. She’d sit patiently, eyes closed behind her wire-rimmed glasses, while I brushed her hair. I was nine years old and she was ninety. Continue reading “Essie”

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