Telling Stories: Narratives of Nationhood

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Canada's Many Voices

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Melinda Mollineaux
Cascadura Stories
About the Artist and the Work  |   Looking at the Art  |   Artistic and Cultural Heritage
image of artwork
Melinda Mollineaux, Cascadura Stories, 1994.
Multi-media installation. Kraft paper panels, recipe boxes, wooden shelves. Dimensions variable. Collection of the artist.



Melinda Mollineaux was born in 1964 in London, England. Her family emigrated to Canada. She studied art at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, and then at the University of Victoria. She now resides in Ottawa.

Cascadura Stories (1994) comes out of her experience and her Caribbean cultural background. Her work explores and expresses the experience and politics of Caribbean identity both within and outside the region: "My parents migrated from Trinidad to Britain in the late fifties and our forebears came from many places, across water, backwards into an almost infinite regression of forced and voluntary migration. I see my task as carrying those parts of our past, our history and culture, forward into the present."

The Cascadura refers to an ancient mud fish, similar to crayfish. A Trinidadian saying is that those who eat the Cascadura will eventually return to the island. In Cascadura Stories, Mollineaux is exploring the relationships among food, geography, memory, and the landscape of the beach as a site of Caribbean cultural memory. What her work shows is that identity is not so much tied to a place, a physical "home"; rather, it is always changing and moving, being pieced together.