Through researching and retelling the story of the first North American zoo since the Mayan Empire, The Memorialist considers the implications of the colonial desire to establish zoological gardens in the middle of a great wilderness. The zoo opened in Halifax in 1847 and its ruins now lie engulfed in an old growth forest. The project explores the work of Andrew Downs— the man who created said zoo and cared for its inhabitants— and his travels overseas to trade animals between institutions and royal families. The Memorialist visits archives, natural history museums, the original site of the gardens, and journeys abroad, all while trying to understand the significance of this story, and carving meaning from the symbol of the zoo.
Through historical and archival research, performance, photography, installation and reflective writing, The Memorialist, documents and critically examines issues related to history and the relationship of humans to the natural world. This process is documented at www.TheMemorialist.com.
The Memorialist is also on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheMemorialist
Centre for Art Tapes’ Artist in Residence Program
Arts Nova Scotia