Climbing Mountains: The Alchemist and the Poet, Common Ground Gallery (Windsor, ON) *Solo

Climbing Mountains: The Alchemist and The Poet
August 8 – August 20, 2008
Common Ground Gallery
3277 Sandwich Street, Windsor, Ontario
Closing Reception: August 15, 2008 – 7 to 11 pm3277 Sandwich St, Windsor, ON

Collette Broeders and poet/author, John Wilkinson, one of Canada’s long living survivors of A.L.S., celebrate his 25th anniversary of diagnosis and set out to advocate environmental issues. Through visual works, sound and video, they explore environmental issues through Broeders visual interpretation of Wilkinson’s poetry and their personal experiences climbing, what would be considered a mountain.  Capturing the idea of economical greed (The Alchemist) and the steel mill known as “Zug Island” along the Detroit River, Wilkinson and Broeders unravel juxtaposing views.

Excerpt from the exhibition CD by Broeders:

2008, has been an experience unlike any I’ve encountered.  I once advised a professor that I’ve met the most incredible man when speaking of John Wilkinson.  I really had no idea how deeply felt those words would become.  Wilkinson has struggled with a debilitating disease for the last twenty-five years.  A man who was wildly adventurous trekking up mountains, skydiving, and riding across the country on a motorcycle, slowly felt himself wither away as his muscles began to fail him.  He was struck with A.L.S. (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease at an early age during his mid-twenties.   He was given only three to five years to live.  Our collaboration investigates his endeavours and his extraordinary decisions on life and the environment.   John was diagnosed over 25 years ago and is now surviving through ventilation.  Due to this, he is unable to speak, however, communicates through Morse Code and a voice that returns for him.  It has been a struggle to communicate, hence, I have learned patience. 

John has taught me some valuable lessons on life and I am forever grateful.  He teaches us all to see more than the mind has been programmed to allow.  For those who use the statement “Don’t make mountains out of molehills” John has reversed it, for every hill is a beautiful mountain.  Quoting Wilkinson himself “My will to stay alive is boundless.”

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