My work reflects my interest in the climate crisis, environmental issues, land stewardship, and our relationship to natural elements. I have lived and worked on the Toronto Islands all my life, exploring and documenting this urban park. Through repetitive image making, I observe and record the changes of the overlapping layers of human and natural histories embedded in the landscape. My work strives to question what is ‘wild’, and how we are renegotiating our relationship with our environment, demonstrating how -- with our help -- nature is reinvented.

 Attributed - Field Studies. I began this work in the spring of 2023 and continue to work on this series.

In these images, I am reimagining the history of botanical drawings made by women in the Victorian era. Women of the Victorian era were relegated to an artistic practice close to home. Social pressure prohibited painting on-site and women were deemed too frail for travel.  As a result, women turned to their gardens or the countryside they knew well for subject material. They would often plant and nurture foliage seasonally to broaden their selection. As a result, many of these women were constructing a rich history of the flora in the areas where they worked. In their lifetimes, their work was overlooked as "busy women’s work" or attributed to their male peers -- often a spouse or son would put their signature on the work.

My work honours this history and the women before me, as I collect specimens on Toronto Island. This book represents the beginning of my exploration. I plan to work through categories of plants photographically, with the intention of recording and cataloging as I reinterpret this material. In developing categories for this work, I realize -- rather than an exact science -- these groupings appear arbitrary or based on the gatherers' interests and access to material. This echoes the reality of the women before me. 

Copyright 2020, April Hickox
Using Format