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The Memorialist

The Memorialist, a project by visual artists D’Arcy Wilson (current Local Artist-In-Residence at The Centre for Art Tapes), pursues an intriguing story about Halifax and natural history:

“It is a little known fact that during the mid 19th century, Halifax was home to the first zoological gardens on the continent since the Mayan Empire. Through researching and retelling the story of this early zoo, The Memorialist considers the implications of the colonial desire to establish zoological gardens in the middle of a wilderness. The project will become familiar with Andrew Downs— the man who created said zoo and cared for its inhabitants— and his travels abroad to trade animals between institutions and royal families.

The Memorialist will visit archives, natural history museums, the original site of the gardens, and will journey overseas, all while trying to understand the significance of this story, and carving meaning from the symbol of the zoo. Developments will be regularly updated at www.thememorialist.com.

Stay tuned for a public artist talk and discussion about the project in September 2015, and a later multimedia presentation telling the story of the first public zoo in North America.” (Source: Maritime Art List