Michael Flaherty

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Rangifer Sapiens

1887-1954
White earthenware with terra sigillata, cobalt sulfate, cobalt underglaze and clear glaze


During the summer of 2009 I lived alone for three months on the isolated Grey Islands off the north coast of Newfoundland. The largest island is the location of an abandoned community, Grey Islands Harbour, a once bustling place now empty because of the 1960s government policy of resettlement. Few remnants of the human community remain - a cemetary, a handful of ruined houses, pottery shards on the beach, and very little else. But it would be inaccurate to say the island is uninhabited: shortly after the people left in 1961 a herd of caribou was transplanted there. For more than half a century they have successfully persisted where humans could no longer - they have inherited the island in an ecological, physical and spiritual sense. The caribou leave their own record on the land - they carve trails through the brush with their footsteps and shed their antlers every fall. It is through these artefacts - antlers, shards, gravestones - that I draw a connection between past and present, human and animal, presence and absence.

1864-1907
White earthenware with terra sigillata, cobalt sulfate, cobalt underglaze and clear glaze


1807-1884
White earthenware with terra sigillata, cobalt sulfate, cobalt underglaze and clear glaze


1812-1878
White earthenware with terra sigillata, cobalt sulfate, cadmium underglaze and clear glaze


1914-1922, 1916-1922 and 1919-1922
White earthenware with terra sigillata, cobalt sulfate, clear glaze and decals


1898-1923, 1904-1922, and 1914-1915
White earthenware with terra sigillata, cobalt sulfate, clear glaze and decals


1886-1919
White earthenware with terra sigillata, cobalt sulfate, cobalt underglaze and clear glaze


1878-1900 and 1880-1900
White earthenware with terra sigillata, cobalt sulfate, cobalt underglaze and clear glaze


1835-1919
White earthenware with terra sigillata, cobalt sulfate, cobalt underglaze and clear glaze


1882-1951
White earthenware with terra sigillata, cobalt sulfate, cobalt underglaze and clear glaze


1876-1952
White earthenware with terra sigillata, cobalt sulfate, cobalt underglaze and clear glaze


1819-1896
White earthenware with terra sigillata, cobalt sulfate, cadmium underglaze and clear glaze


1879-1905
White earthenware with terra sigillata, cobalt sulfate, cobalt underglaze and clear glaze


1901-1953
White earthenware with terra sigillata, cobalt sulfate, cobalt underglaze, clear glaze and gold lustre


1847-1922
Terra cotta with terra sigillata, cobalt sulfate and glaze


1850-1904
Terra cotta with terra sigillata, cobalt sulfate and glaze


1922-1922
White earthenware with terra sigillata, cobalt sulfate, cobalt underglaze and clear glaze


1836-1911
Terra cotta with terra sigillata, cobalt sulfate and glaze