The past while I been diving into the research phase of the project, reading on the types of animals and plants that can be found in Richmond Nature Park. Which, according to various reports, is a biodiverse bog remnant. That led me to wonder what biodiversity means and its impact globally with issues such as extinction rate and bioresources. Then coming back to the local history of the park in connections to the physical and cultural development of the city.
Here is a brief history of the park: in 1962, the idea for a nature park was first conceived and by 1968, a proposal was developed and submitted to the city. The original concept actually included a gun range but was later shot down by the public. In 1971, the Richmond Nature Park Committee was established and on November 14, 1976, the doors were officially opened. The Richmond Nature Park resides in the Greater Lulu Island Bog, one of the 21 historical bogs in Fraser Delta. The bogs or peatlands, to which they are categorized under, where formed over tens of thousands of years. They have been reduced in size and effected greatly by the recent developments such as the highways, auto mall and farm cultivation during the past few decades. If you want more information, you will find the 351 paged, detailed report of the Lulu Island Bog extremely helpful.
However, I find that the more I research, the quieter these dates, numbers, and answers become in comparison to the knowledge found by walking through the park itself. There is unspeakable beauty found in rustling of the birch trees, the peak-a-boo of pine trees and the new growth in the cedars.
There are stories in the patterns of the eaten Salal leaves, the crispness of the winter dried flowers (to which I still need to identify) and the little branch caves that sparks of home to fictional and imaginary creatures.
A walk reveals the reality of the changes the park is undergoing due to human presence and developments spoken about in various reports and papers. They are made personal and serious through witnessing the cutting of the invasive cultivated blueberry plants to various degrees in efforts to preserve the bog’s biodiversity. As the beauty of nature draws one in, I am awakened again and again to the truth of the battle for environmental conservation by the sounds of the planes that flies across every few minutes, every day.
Welcome to the visual journal of The Interpreter Project, an artist blog that will document the journey through the year-long artist residency at Richmond Nature Park. From research to production, from workshops to installation, the blog will provide you with a peak at the behind the scenes process of the artist. As I discover, you will discover and as I get inspired, hopefully it will inspire you as well.
The residency is made possible by the City of Richmond and in collaborations with the Richmond Nature Park Society. Through artist research and a series of proposed workshops, we will create with the community an interactive installation, a legacy artwork and most importantly, precious memories that will stir up our connections to our identity, society, and the environment we reside in.
The word “interpret” has a special place in my heart. As an immigrant to this country, like many who lives and works in the city, I often have to find my own meanings to many of the languages and cultures I encounter. I enjoy Cambridge Dictionary’s interpretation on the word which is to decide what the intended meaning of something is or to express your own ideas about the intended meaning of something. As well as the more laid back, to bring out the meaning of…from Dictionary.com. They all capture my inspiration, for myself and to the community who will take part in this project, of putting our own interpretations, expressions or imprints of our identity on the vast knowledge contained in Richmond Nature Park. I believe there is power in producing personal meanings that can connect, in a real way, the concepts of environment, society and identity.
And with that, I will leave you with a selfie of the camera shy me strolling through the currently frozen park. As the weather changes and as I conduct my research phase, I am excited to see how the project will blossom and bear fruit in the community.