Helen Haig Brown
In conjunction with the exhibition Facing the Monumental, artist Rebecca Belmore and curator Wanda Nanibush have selected a series of films, revealing issues, influences and additional insights into artistic practice.
Struggling with the ability to be in a lasting relationship, Helen Haig-Brown begins to question where this lack of skill and inability to commit comes from. On her journey Helen discovers that we learn to bond, attach and love from our relationship with our mother. My Legacy follows Helen as she explores the often tenuous relationship between a mother and daughter made more complex by the legacy of the colonial impacts of small pox and residential school.
Through a colorful blend of live-action footage, animation and verite-style interviews, Helen confronts the troubled relationship with her mother Maria, a survivor of years of abuse in residential school, and the product of a violent alcoholic home. Uncovering the layers of anger and fear traced through four generations in her family, Helen begins to unravel her own pain and anger.
Through understanding her mother’s own experience of trauma and disconnection that shaped her approach to motherhood, Helen finds forgiveness and healing of her own childhood with her mother. This healing lays to rest the deep seeded fears of mistrust, abandonment and feelings of worthlessness that many carry from the Canadian colonial legacy. Despite the various traumas experienced by the women in her family, Helen’s story is ultimately that of love and forgiveness as she highlights the strength and beauty that has carried on in her family.
Films are free with museum admission and free for members.
Directed by Helen Haig Brown
2014, Canada, 60 Mins, PG
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