THE STORY OF A MAP

by joannagilmanhyde

THE COAST GUARD, Shelburne, N.S., Tuesday, July 20th, 1993 — 1B

SATELLITE ART FOR EXTRATERRESTRIALS

by Harold Hart

Joanna Hyde of Shelburne has

been busy recently in her back-

yard painting the design of a four-

teen point maple leaf on a huge

40 by 30 foot map of Canada.

The fourteen points mark loca-

tions in Labrador and Quebec

where Hyde would like to position

light reflecting surfaces to reflect

star-like points of light in the out-

line of a maple leaf into outer

space.

The large map arrived in Shel-

burne from Ottawa on May 17

where it had been hanging on an

outside wall of the National Arts

Centre.  It was put there by the

Canadian Conference of the Arts

earlier in the year in an effort to

pressure the Federal Govern-

ment to stop cutting funding for

arts programs.  It remained there

until the April 26 budget was

passed.

Joanna learned about the map

from an article in The Chronicle

Herald.  Being interested in what

is called public art – the kind of

art which is large and displayed

outdoors – Joanna decided she

wanted the map.  She contacted

the coordinator of the Canadian

Conference of the Arts and was

told she could have the map if she

would pay the shipping charges.

Joanna agreed and wound up the

new owner for just less than two

hundred dollars.

The map consists of twelve sec-

tions that were circulated to

more than 150 art galleries,

theatres, and schools in each

province where signatures were

affixed to protest government

funding cutbacks for the arts.

Once joined together the pieces

make a huge map of the country

with more than 400,000 signatures

appearing on it…

“Well, what is its weight?”

“Oh, it’s Dead Weight.”

“That’s OK.  I just cremated

My Mother —

She didn’t weigh very much.”

After She painted Her 14-point Maple Leaf

Joanna lay down

and almost died.

She almost died

for years and years.

Long after one husband

cut up the map for tarps

to cover wood piles

at Her First Marital Home

Joanna revived eventually

on poetry and bird song

to find in the Summer of 2016

the abandoned map sections —

one with moss and ferns growing

out of it —

With the help of Her Adult Children

She retrieved three surviving pieces

of The Giant “Ties That Bind

and dragged them across the county

to The East Side of Her Hawk House.

She laid them out

busy in Her Back Yard

hosing and scrubbing a 23-year build up

of Nova Scotia’s Forested Fate

stained and distressed

front and back

to dry in the sun

with the help of a couple of old towels —

not Her Grey One —

there was left no semblance of the configuration

of Canada — only the ghost

of a few red lines

a few patches of indelible signatures

and one partial strip of big black letters

along what must have been

the bottom — in English and French:

…FUNDING FOR ARTS AND CULTURE

She arranged the pieces

some still edged by sturdy grommets —

into what became a nearly perfect square

measuring 27 feet by 23.5 feet:

She had Her Canvas.

She would paint on the BACK.

She folded up the three sections

and with the help of Her Second Husband

She piled Them onto the floor

of The Hawk Utility Room —

the floor She had been using

for Her Most Recent Paintings

and as She writes, She thinks

of building a platform

a stage

perhaps next summer

if there is the same lack of rain

as this one —

She would secure The Triptych

upside down, with the foundation

of Canadian signatures — what’s left of the original

400,000

and setting up Her Gallons of Paint

with broom and hose nearby

She would paint and sweep and hose

Stratosphere of The Universe