Tulifanya Studio, Beverley Peden
Original Hand Pulled Prints (etchings, monoprints, collograph, relief prints) and Original Paintings, Located on Beautiful Pender Island, British Columbia


(posted on 18 Jul 2012)

For those of you who may be wondering why I am starting my image with a footprint, here is my response...

My idea is that a footprint is a significant thing. In any spot on earth, one wonders how many footsteps have imprinted onto that piece of earth, what dramas have occured there, how many lives have intersected, how many spieces have come and gone....there are too many questions to name them all. The fact that we tend to cover the earth with tarmac and then place more barriers between ourselves and the earth removes us even that much more from a sense of connection with the history of that spot.

While living and travelling in Africa, I was often struck by the disconnect of me driving across tarmac in my car with so many barriers between myself and the earth, and moving at great speed. Looking across the plain, I would see cows moving slowly in the heat, and herders following along behind, often barefoot, connecting with the earth with each step. When I got out of my car and walked, it was a very different awareness and sense of connection that was experienced. I was often struck by a sense of arrogance possessed by those who came into a country, didn't connect, and yet felt they knew what the land and the people needed to prosper.

Any place on earth has it's own history which is inclusive and encompassing. We tend to see only our own small sector of history as it refers to us, which is quite an egocentric point of view. Add to that the fact that in a city landscape, we tend to see the history in the artifacts we have built, and it does tell quite a different story than looking through imaginary eyes at the layers of earth supporting those artifacts. I can't help but wonder if all of our pride in structures built may be a bit premature. It is a very interesting question to think about. As creatures who build structures, how does this compare with nature's structures? Will a sky scraper last long than a mountain? Will a river last longer than a culvert? Does building structures like we do and living in them separate us from a sense of who we are in relationship to the earth we are born from?

So, in looking at a very short time span of 150 years in a very finite setting of artifacts, what stories are told? What relationships? What actually makes a sense of place? Is it the structures built, the people who built them, the people who used them in the past, the present, and who will probably use them in the future?

A footstep is indicative of a moment frozen in time....a contact with something; a presence and a connection. In my print, I make the footprint visible. In reality it is unseen by the human eye. It becomes one of many, many past connections, and only one in an ongoing story of connection, one small part of an almost infinite story. One needs different eyes to see the ghosts of the footsteps past, and the vision of the footsteps to come.