Toronto-based artist Logan MacDonald presents a new work, Fruit, at Evergreen Brick Works as part of Evergreen’s call for public art projects addressing issues of equity in public space.
For this project, MacDonald has collaborated with Ojibwa farmer Isaac Crosby, Evergreen’s Former Lead Hand in Urban Agriculture, to plant and care for pawpaw trees — Indigenous fruit trees that were once populous in Southern Ontario — at Evergreen Brick Works.
Re-introducing paw paw trees to the ravine landscape at Evergreen, MacDonald addresses the lack of native fruit-bearing trees in Toronto’s parks and draws connections to this absence as an erasure of Indigenous culture in public spaces. Focusing on the ways in which green spaces and public parks are controlled by colonial value systems, Fruit draws attention to historical and ongoing restrictions for Indigenous people in the area regarding access to traditional lands, trade routes, resources and sustenance.
The project demarks an anti-colonial monument where planting pawpaw trees attempts to reclaim this land as an engagement site for Indigenous people by providing plants that offer sustenance, or at the very least symbolically honour a time when this land nourished Indigenous people in Southern Ontario.
Pawpaw planter design and construction: Allison Smith
The work is available for viewing at the Brick Works site.
Logan MacDonald is an artist, curator, writer, educator and activist who focuses on queer, disability and Indigenous perspectives. He is of European and Mi’kmaq ancestry, who identifies with both his Indigenous and settler roots. Born in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, his Mi’kmaq ancestry is connected to Elmastukwek, Ktaqmkuk. His artwork has exhibited across North America, notably with exhibitions at L.A.C.E. (Los Angeles) John Connelly Presents (New York), Ace Art Inc. (Winnipeg), The Rooms (St. John’s), and Articule (Montréal). His work has been published in C Magainze, Un Magazing, Canadian Art and more. In 2019, MacDonald was longlisted for the Sobey Art Award and was honoured with a six-month residency at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin. He is a graduate from Concordia University with a BFA in Interdisciplinary Studies and a MFA in Studio Arts from York University. He is currently Vice-Chair of the Indigenous Curatorial Collective.