From the Love Canal Series (Gaa-onzikaawan Ziibiikaajigan Izhi-Zaagi’iding izhichigaadewinan)

Three larged framed pieces are hanging on a dark green wall. They all appear to be photographs that are chopped up and rearranged together. The biggest one is a human eye with green leaves around it.

From the Love Canal Series, 2021

Archival pigment prints. Courtesy the artist © Shanna Merola Installation photography by Charlie Edwards, courtesy of the University of Michigan Museum of Art

About the Art

Shanna Merola
Gichimookomaanakiing, 1980 gaa-ondaadizi

Namaji-ayi’iing ako debani-ayi’iing
Trichloroethene C2HCl3
Chlorobenzene C6H5Cl
Methylene Chloride CH2Cl2
Gaa-onzikaawan Ziibiikaajigan Izhi-Zaagi’iding izhichigaadewinan
2021
Mazinaakiziganan Zhizhoobiimazinaakizigaadewan
Nimiigwechiwenimaanaan Gaazheninjiged

Shanna Merola anokaadaanan gegoon izhi-nisidawendaagwag ezhi-ayaayang dibishkoo ezhi-inakamigaag. Ge ogii-anokaadaan Ziibiikaajigan Izhi-Zaagi’iding, aabideg anoonji minjimendang apii dibaakoniged gaye nandagikendang gaa-ezhiwebag mewinzha iwedi ezhi-wiiyagishkamowaad Ziibiikaajigan Izhi-Zaagi’iding, New York, besho ateg Gichigakaabikong, dash Superfund izhinikaadamowaad (nibi gaye aki izhi-wiiyagishkamowaad onzaam gaye wenji-biinitoowaad ginwenzh), Giiwedinakiing. Bemaadizijig gaa-daawag Ziibiikaajigan Izhi-Zaagi’iding maji-inaapinewaad iw apii wiiyagishkamowaad aapiji Maamawichigewin. Ogii-aabajitoonan mazinaakiziganan ge mazinaakizang Maamawichigewin anokiiwinan gaye izhichigewaad bemaaadizijig gaye mashkiki-aabajichiganan, Merola inoo’ang wiiyagishkaagewinan gaye ezhi-maji-inaapinewaad bemaadizijig. Ziibiikaajigan Izhi-Zaagi’iding gikendaagwad dash Bagwaji-inaadiziwin gaye bemaadizijig zhiibinewaad – dibishkoo ininiwizhiig waabanjigaazowaad – aanjisewaad wii-zhaabwiiwaad megwaa miigaajigaazowaad.

Shanna Merola
United States, born 1980

LEFT TO RIGHT
Trichloroethene C2HCl3
Chlorobenzene C6H5Cl
Methylene Chloride CH2Cl2
From the Love Canal series
2021
Archival pigment prints
Courtesy of the artist

Shanna Merola’s work draws attention to how the health of the environment correlates to our own well-being. In her recent series Love Canal, she draws on her legal background and historical research to explore the legacy of industrial pollutants surfacing in Love Canal, New York, near Niagara Falls, which was named the first Superfund site (water and land polluted by extractive industries requiring long-term remediation) in North America. Residents of Love Canal experienced decades of dire environmental and health effects from containers leaking toxins. Weaving together documentary photographs of plants and industrial infrastructure and idealized stock photographs of human beings and medical equipment from the internet, Merola visually collapses the distance between the pollutants in the environment and the bodies they affected. Love Canal explores how people, communities, and nature–like the featured thriving milkweeds–adapt and mutate to survive, even as they are attacked.

About the Exhibit

Watershed at the University of Michigan Museum of Art

Watershed was on display June 4–October 23, 2022. It brought recent work from fifteen contemporary artists to UMMA for an exhibition that immersed visitors in the interconnected histories, present lives, and imagined futures of the Great Lakes region.

Visit the exhibit at the University of Michigan Museum of Art

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