The departure point of Tanea Hynes’ work is the awareness of the complex socio-political reality of living within the extractive economy. Hynes grew up in Labrador City, a town that was founded in the 1960s to accommodate employees of the iron ore mine, which remains the primary industry in the town to this day. Hynes’s work reveals the mundaneness, darkness, and difficulty of place. The city’s inhabitants have a complex relationship to the mine, whose presence looms large in the landscape. Her work explores this relationship and the social reality it reflects, including the complicated interconnections between the city, residents, and this industry. Drawing on her own personal experience of place and home, Tanea Hynes takes a critical approach to the idealized image of a company town proposed by mining companies by portraying lived realities taking place outside the public eye. This critical approach nevertheless acknowledges that work produced by these inhabitants contributes to creating the infrastructures necessary to modern life.
Ethan Murphy’s works capture the remoteness of landscapes in Newfoundland & Labrador. These subjects, the result of generations of economic migration away from the region, point unapologetically to a series of economic blows dealt to the province over the past half century. With events like the closure of Bell Island’s iron ore mine and the cod moratorium of the 1990s in the background, Murphy’s work portrays sites like Bell Island as spaces that testify to a loss, forgotten by the engine of industrialization, and compounded by the artist’s own loss of a parent. For Ethan Murphy, photographing these dormant spaces once rich with activity, becomes an act of commemoration and the persistence and endurance of site-specific memory.