The Hub August 2017 - Page 9

Christina Woods Sculpting inspiration As one of five sisters in an Italian family, Windsor sculptor Donna Mayne has always been fascinated and inspired by strong women. In 2004, Mayne lead a team of eight participants in a jobs creation project which resulted in the “Reaching Out” mural on the corner of Wyandotte Street East and McDougall. The mural, painted by nine artists including Mayne, depicts community leaders who played a significant role in shaping the McDougall Street neighbourhood. The mural depicts Bishop C.L. Morton, Justin Jackson, Rev. J.T. Wagner, Walter Perry and Alton C. Parker, and Mary Ann Shadd. An American teacher and abolitionist, Quaker-educated Shadd moved to Windsor in the mid-1800s and opened a school for the children of American slaves who had escaped to Canada. She started a widely distributed, weekly newspaper printed in Windsor called The Provincial Freeman to encourage relocation to the Windsor area and provide settlement information for slaves traveling along the Underground Railroad. This earned her the distinction of becoming the first female newspaper publisher and editor in Canada. In her later years, Mary Ann supported the suffra gist movement alongside Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. When she graduated from Howard University at sixty, she became one of the first women in the U.S. of African descent to obtain a law degree. In 1994, Mary Ann Shadd become a Person of National Historical Significance in Canada. For thirteen years Donna Mayne has wanted to find a way to pay tribute to Mary Ann Shadd and she’s on her way to accomplishing that goal with the completion of a clay sculpture. A $2500 grant from the City of Windsor Arts, Culture and Heritage Fund has allowed Mayne to create a clay study which she hopes will eventually be used to cast a complete figure. It is currently on display at Maison François Baby House Museum, 254 Pitt Street West. The ACHF grant covered Mayne’s expenses, supplies, museum travel, funded a photo shoot and a portion of her time and labour. The clay bust started out as a base on a turntable and then Mayne fashioned a form using plumbers’ pipe, cardboard, wire mesh, and Styrofoam. She then affixed Prima plastilina clay and used various hand tools for shaping. Creating the clay study was no small task and Mayne did a lot of research in preparation, including correspondence with the Canadian Quaker Archives. She had invaluable help in the form of Teiana Harris who agreed to be a model for Shadd’s likeness. “Having a model was so helpful as I only had one, over-exposed photo of Mary Ann to work with. Teiana helped me to achieve her physical appearance but also reminded me to focus on the personality of the woman. I asked Teiana to pose with her chin up, as if she were walking in the wind so I could capture the determination of Mary Ann’s personality.” Mayne hopes this project will strengthen public support for an addition to Windsor’s already impressive collection of public art. “My goal is to create a lasting tribute to Mary Ann Shadd with a life-size bronze. I intend to portray her determination, stepping forward against the forces of determination. Held close to her will be the Provincial Freeman (her weekly paper) – a symbol of hope, equality, and the social justice for which she strived.” How do you support local artists? Tweet us @TheHubWE #artmatters August 2017 - The HUB 9