Ben Darrah with Barriefield Community

Our Projects - Kingston InSightS Project

Ben Darrah chose to concentrate on the community of residents in the Barriefield Village, because, as new resident in Barriefield he was struck by the significant transition that was happening in the village. Long-time residents who lived in small houses were moving out of the community and their houses were being bought, torn, down and replaced with houses built my new residents.

Ben was interested in the mix of economic and social backgrounds and how the community was faring with the inevitable tension of the transition. After canvassing the neighbourhood with flyers and through word of mouth a group of residents responded and started working with him on the project of trying to define this community.

They are an astute group who are all concerned about the social well-being of their community. They include Bill Robb, Maureen Garvie, Britta Gaddes, Eric Peterson, Becky Bridger, Diane Black, George Lovell and Christine Sypnowich. The group had quite elaborate plans on how to present its community, and started working on several arms of the same project, including sound recordings of the noises they felt were peculiar to Barriefield, sounds from the LaSalle Causeway, birdsong, construction, etc.

They also started working on developing a large painting, which was going to include images from the rounds of photography. Diane and Becky participated in an acrylic painting demo conducted by Ben Darrah and Becky did a number of experiments using Wintergreen to apply photocopied images onto canvas. The group also undertook to interview community members and research the history of Barriefield and include this information in both a sound piece and a calendar.The last item came about in response to concerns from the group that something be given back to the community. They are a very socially responsible lot.

For the exhibition at the Agnes Etherington, the Barriefield group will be presenting the twelve pages from the proposed calendar, featuring a montage of the pictures taken by the group members and snippets of information, stories and key dates important to Barriefield Village. The scope of the project has been pared back so that the group members are not necessarily trying to represent the views of the whole community, but are rather focusing on their personal understanding and engagement with their community.