Meryl McMaster
Becoming Laura
Becoming Laura
"Becoming Laura" invokes both historical and mythical imagery in order to recall the memory and legend of Laura Ingersoll Secord, a distant relative of my family who is widely remembered for an act of bravery during the War of 1812. Shadows and text portray her journey as she makes the difficult decision to warn British soldiers and First Nation warriors of an impending American assault on Niagara and York. Assuming the form of Laura, I carry her tale on a symbol of the political and economic forces that lead to this critical moment in Canadian history – a ship’s sail. From this sail, words from the song “Secord’s Warning” drift away as if calling out into the night in hopes of reaching her wounded husband’s comrades on the Niagara Escarpment. Meanwhile, a messenger of “ill omen”, the Raven, appears on my head to guide me/Laura through this ordeal. As history tells us, Laura’s warning was given upon reaching the encampment and the British and Mohawk allies met the American army two days later and were victorious.
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