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At the same time, we have retreated from public spaces of our old neighbourhoods into the private spaces of our automobiles, the anonymity of our high-rises, the security of our gated-communities, and the isolation of our urban homes. Because of almost total reliance on the automobile, we find it inconvenient to ship and live in our older neighbourhoods, and we too often use their streets as one-way speedways to get us everywhere else.
Bill Manson- Local historian of Hamilton
in Foreward to –Footsteps in Time,
Exploring Hamilton’s Heritage Neighbourhoods.
The false fire-alarms at the Art Gallery of Hamilton- AGH- got us talking and Bill Manson told that he has written four books on the local history of Hamilton, which he says he started exploring a bit more closely since he retired sixteen years ago. His talks on Expanding the Circle: Robert Davidson and the Ancient Language of Haida Art and Sara Angelucci: Piece Work were well researched and informative and give a window into what it means to be a Canadian living in the 21st century, in the year of celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday.
CANADIAN MUSEUMS AND PUBLIC SPACES
By living in an area-one gets associated with many aspects of that region.
As examples- have shown the videos of Dhari Devi temple and Alaknanda in Garhwal Himalayas- an association which comes with our family base in Palam region of Delhi
Or the Maltese Chapels and Museums which came with our association with the Sweiqi-St Julian region of Malta.
Walks through the Toronto Zoo, Royal Ontario museum and Port Credit area came with the association with Mississauga.
As Canada observes it’s 150th birthday, here are two slideshows –Royal Ontario Museum and Art Gallery of Hamilton
ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM
OUR INDIAN ORIGINS
Touching base with the Garhwal Himalayas-when I visited my father’s cousin sister, she took me to the Dhari Devi Temple, where our family has been associated for centuries and many generations. She remembered the time when her children were small- and they used to come for a picnic to Dhari Devi. Now both –Divyanshu and Mitali are studying in Dehradun. Joshi-ji is preparing for his retirement next year, and he told his children to first secure base with one qualification which will earn them some stability and later build on that and buttress one’s academic portfolio. Both children are following that realistic bottomline approach and slowly expanding their Horizons. Our families go back a long way, and many associations over the decades , which add depth and perspective and identity came alive as we spent a quiet evening. The Alaknanda flows nearby. This is where our ancestral village is. In the Garhwal Himalayas, before the Ganga is formed- at Devprayag. Meditated on the meanings of Satsang, over the years.
PRAYERS AT DHARI-DEVI- 12 km North of Srinagar –Garhwal Himalayas
ALAKNANDA- Chamoli region –Garhwal Himalayas
I went through parts of the books –Footsteps in Time and History of Transportation in Hamilton, with my sons, and we decided to have a relook at some of the Neighbourhoods with whom we have been associated with before coming to Canada in 2012. As many chronic immigrants tell – Five years is regarded as a new immigrant here. It takes a few years to figure out life over here.
Because of our association with the Sweiqi- St Julian Neighbourhood of Malta , we were associated with some art movements of Southern Europe and got a feel of European civilization first hand. Living in a place is different from visiting it for a few days. Getting into the system of schools, transport, housing made us explore the layers of community involved in the St.Edward’s college Cottonera, the Museums and Theatres of Malta.
Malta-Museum of Fine Arts
The Chapel of St Edwards, Cottonera
As I thought about the words of Bill Manson, a life long educator, who used to teach theatre, about the anonymity of the lives, and the works of artists like Sara Angelucci which give voice to the anonymous worker, her meaning of Alchemy came to mind.
“I think of the hands of the sewers in Piece Work as mano d’oro [hands of gold]. Like alchemists they transform one element into another; their exacting labour turns fabric into dollars, dollars into bread.”
These intimate works, made me recall some walks in different neighbourhoods I have had over the years, and connecting with our ancestral village in Garhwal Himalayas, or the landscapes and chapels of Malta and the associations which come with our life in Mississauga, Ontario