Context Is Everything, by Monique Martin

The dandelion is the symbol for healing from emotional pain, physical injury and surviving through all life’s challenges and difficulties. Since the dandelion can thrive in difficult conditions, it is no wonder that people say the flower symbolizes the ability to rise above adversity. Most modern admirers consider it a symbol of fighting through the challenges of life and emerging victorious on the other side. Others use it as a visual reminder of the sun’s power, especially when depression or grief make it hard to stay sunny. The dandelion flower’s message is to not give up, even if those around you keep trying to get rid of you. Stick it out and remember the cheerfulness of a sunny summer’s day when things seem bleak or dark. I believe we all need a paper dandelion somewhere in our home to remind us that we are strong and can grow in spite of adversity.

Artist Statement

Context is everything; each moment, each decision and each relationship we have in our lives, all the experiences we have had, come together and affect how we respond to stimuli. This project merges the flora of the prairie landscape and the characteristic of judging people and events and circumstances too quickly without using our prior knowledge and insights. It touches the soul of any person that has ever been judged on any level, for their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, abilities, body shape and size, even what fashion they are wearing.

Using the simple weed found in the ditch I encourage people to take another look, to not just swipe left or right, but rather consider the person or moments more deeply. Weeds can be beautiful, can be a source of nutritional value, and possibly even have medicinal properties. What makes a weed a weed and not a flower, when is one preferred over the other? In some locations, what is considered a weed is a flower in another context.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said that “a weed is a plant whose virtues haven’t been discovered yet”. If humans took more time to get to know others would they be less racist, more understanding and less prone to generalizations. When do people become weeds? What makes us decide when a person is a weed?

Plants become weeds when they obstruct our plans, or our tidy maps of the world. A weed is “a plant in the wrong place.” -Richard Mabey

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About the Artist: Monique Martin

Monique is a multi-disciplinary based artist in Saskatoon, Canada.

Monique has exhibited her artwork in more than 225 significant solo, invited and juried group exhibitions in ten countries. Her works are held in more than forty-four public and private collections in ten different countries. Her work often uses significant symbols or comments on contemporary social issues. Using specific concepts, Monique creates bodies of work rather individual pieces and once she has exhausted a concept she moves on to a new concept. Her works push the boundaries of standard printmaking: enormous scale printmaking, installation based printmaking and working with three dimensions in printmaking.

Monique finds that her work develops well when she is away from her regular routine in her own studio, so she often seeks out artist in residence positions in other locations, or is invited to be Artist in Residence. She was Artist in Residence for Disneyland Paris, Paris, France (2013), Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan Festival (2013), Saskatchewan Children's Festival (2012), Bytown Museum, Ottawa, Canada (2010), Spalding, United Kingdom (2008), Nice, France (2006), Vallauris, France (2006), Mount Vernon, USA (2004), Wynyard, Tasmania, Australia (2003) and Coaticook, QC, Canada (2001).