From the parking lot at the end of Ochterloney Street, or if you have arrived by ferry, exit the terminal via the parking lot doors and walk or roll to the wooden pathway along the shore. You can view the digital art while sitting on a bench, looking at the water.
Sit, observe the water, look at Alderney Landing - there is a weekly farmer’s market inside. In the summer, the parking lot is transformed into an outdoor farmer’s market, as well. The trains that run on the tracks behind you are used for transporting many goods, including food.
Pinch, zoom in, move Keely’s image around. Check out the detail in the collage.
Boundareas is a collage that was created while traveling from Halifax to Cumberland County on a major highway in the food transport system of Mi’kma’ki (Nova Scotia). The towns in Cumberland County also exist at a boundary recognized as the provincial border and have been a gateway during the course of the pandemic, so it seems a location where boundaries have recently played a great role. Many of the images were made from a moving vehicle, and physical materials were collected from nearby agricultural sites. The collage intends to recognize the inconsistent and irregular boundaries we construct between food production, transport, and undeveloped land.
The crops form a quilt with well-defined borders, but their influence is much larger than their boundaries. Timothy grass, the plant used in the collage, is an invasive species that has breached its boundaries but is also agriculturally important. Forests and wetlands are encroached by farmland, and are an important part of the ecosystem that must be protected. We exist within a complex ecosystem, and agriculture interacts with nearly every transitory space we consider to be defined by boundaries. From farms to wetlands, forests, watersheds, rural communities, highways and cities, agriculture breaches every boundary of our ecosystem. By knowing where our food comes from and how it is produced, we can reduce the negative consequences of agriculture, and challenge the false binary that pits it against the environment.
Keely Hopkins is a settler artist-biologist originally from Southern Alberta, where they studied biology at the University of Lethbridge. After a brief time working in the veterinary industry, they decided to pursue art school and are currently studying at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Kjipuktuk. At NSCAD they are studying photography and art history, but hope to keep a diverse educational diet that includes a variety of media and perspectives.
Keely works in lens-based imagery, collage, performance and sculpture, but almost always incorporates photography projects. Most of their inspiration comes from visual history and their photo-walk practice that developed during the pandemic. Keely’s work often deals with language and looking, and how these intersect with identity.
At twilight, after a long day’s work, the sun-soaked farmers would turn in for the night. This twilight time was special because they would share stories of being on the farm: what was thriving, what was dying, problems they solved and problems that remained. This indirect passing on of wisdom and knowledge was key in cultivating ways to build, grow and sustain happy, healthy farms. Jenn Greenburg, an early Food Team member at the EAC, compiled a book filled with these stories titled Twilight Meetings: Celebrating the Wisdom of Our Farmer-Mentors.
The EAC has been deeply involved in the movement to support local farms and farmers. For example, the Food Miles Project was a groundbreaking research, education and policy initiative that delved into the Nova Scotia food system (which is still made up primarily of imported foods) and looks at the social, economic and environmental benefits of a more locally-based diet, with the aim of increasing awareness of the impacts of our food choices.