SNAP is pleased to present Thirst Trap by Haylee Fortin, in the gallery from June 12 to July 17, 2021.
“Thirst Trap is a physical representation of the online hunting forum I have followed since 2018. Though unintentional, the forum has allowed me to engage with aspects of rural prairie culture alien to me and provided space to understand my connection to where I am from – however tenuous that may be.
Two years ago while searching for images relevant to my painting practice, I came across the Alberta Hunting Addicts forum on facebook. I had assumed when joining this online community that I would use it solely as an image source but found myself more and more interested in what it means to hunt, and the interactions between members of the forum.
The prairies are my home, but at times I experience a disconnect with prairie culture. Despite coming from a rural farming family, my politically left-leaning, city-slickin’ ways often leave me feeling like an imposter. As I collected images I noticed that many of the members had an interest in conservation, a willingness to provide support to other members and a respect for nature. Finding commonality with the hunting community was unexpected and challenged my assumptions about why people hunt. It had never occurred to me that hunting was anything beyond the desire to shoot something. While much of what we see online is curated by algorithms echoing what we already look at, I had unknowingly chosen to integrate ideas and opinions I found uncomfortable into my daily routine of checking social media.
Through a residency with SNAP I continued to follow the forum and the collages transitioned to dioramas translating my experience of the online space into physical objects. Thirst Trap is a fragmentation of my accidental engagement with a facet of prairie culture and the common ground we unexpectedly hold.”
Haylee Fortin is an Edmonton based painter, new media artist and printmaker. Graduating with distinction from the University of Alberta’s Fine Art program in 2015, Haylee has since pursued an interest in art as a means of community engagement with local artist run centres. Through her position as studio assistant, Haylee supports programming for artists at the Nina Haggerty Centre.
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