Cainnt Mo Mhàthar
My Mother’s Language
This three-year project involved filming and recording Cape Breton’s native Gaelic speakers in their own homes, using everyday Gaelic in conversation on a wide range of topics. Special efforts were made to represent the 34+ dialects on the Island that have survived for well over 200 years to the present day. The purpose of the collection is to support the significant number of Nova Scotians currently engaged in learning the Gaelic language. Prior to this time, educational material has largely consisted of Scottish content, with very little Nova Scotian content available.
I am a photographer based out of Victoria, British Columbia on Vancouver Island. I grew up in the remote fishing community of North Shore, on Cape Breton Island where the population was 27 people. My love of people watching came at a early age when my parents would take me along on their many visits with elderly neighbours. I would sit quietly and study their faces as they laughed and told stories with their hands, taking in the details of their kitchens, tea cups, wood stoves, and rubber boots at the door.
Raised on an island full of storytellers, musicians, and characters, produced a strong sense of cultural pride. Being an active participant in its preservation was encouraged from a young age. Music was the first expression of my creativity and it eventually became a natural extension of my photography, with many of my projects stemming from my cultural identity.