Shaun de Rooy – 2021 Riding Mountain Artists’ Residency

During his residency, visual artist Shaun de Rooy will study and create an installation inspired by the Canadian relief programs that took place in Riding Mountain National Park in the 1930’s.

During the Great Depression, the Federal Government established several “make work projects” across Canada – projects which had no immediate financial benefit to the economy but existed solely to supply work for unemployed laborers.

Between 1934-35, Riding Mountain National Park sustained the largest relief camp operation across Canada and employed over 1200 men for various projects that were fundamental to the development of the park.

“For some time, I have been interested in the concept of ‘make work projects’, but it wasn’t until I visited the Park that I realized the extent to which these concepts had been employed in Canada and the impacts they’ve had on our land and culture,” Shaun explained.

While at the Deep Bag Cabin, Shaun will set up a work camp, where he will work daily to produce pulp-based bricks and construct various structures and walls around the cabin. This “make work project” will be completed as a homage to the 1200 laborers who worked in the Riding Mountain National Park and an acknowledgment of the on-going battle for the rights of all workers world-wide.

The Riding Mountain Artists’ Residency is offered in partnership by the Manitoba Arts Council and Riding Mountain National Park. The residency takes place in the Deep Bay cabin, a recognized federal heritage building originally used as a base for the Royal Canadian Air Force’s floatplane forest fire patrols.

Since its restoration in 2006, the cabin has welcomed over 100 artists in dance, music, theatre, literary, visual and media arts, who create and share their work with audiences in the park and surrounding area.

Interested in the staying in the Deep Bay cabin? Find out how to apply to the Riding Mountain Artists Residency through the Manitoba Arts Council’s Learn – Residencies program. Apply by November 1, 2021 for a residency in the summer of 2022.