Inspired by her tenure as Artist in Residence for the town of Coaticook in 2013, the works in this exhibition began with a deliberate practice of walking every street in Coaticook to establish a sense of its shape and to understand how it appears on a two-dimensional map. At the same time she studied maps of the town’s infrastructure, the sewer systems, the aqueduct system, the waste water system and the cadastral map of all property lines. To transform the physical experience of walking the streets into an embodied sense of the territory Abdalla created large-scale embroideries of the various maps of the town. These embroideries became the base from which to create frottage, or rubbing, prints. Marks made in this way are unique and cannot be made in any other way. The resulting map prints appear as both detailed in their precise shape and ethereal in the way the marks are rendered on translucent mylar and suspended with light passing through. Some maps are highly abstracted and detach themselves from the original context to appear as playful shapes and colour.
Annie Abdalla, who holds a Masters in Fine Arts as well as a Masters in Environmental Studies, grew up in Coaticook and now lives in Prospect Village, Nova Scotia. She continues to spend part of each year in the Eastern Townships. She is an interdisciplinary artist whose work has been exhibited in both Canada and the US. In 2013 she was awarded a grant from Arts Nova Scotia to support the development of the work appearing in this exhibition. She is a professor at Goddard College in Vermont and teaches privately as well.