Alana Bartol @ Collection of the City of Calgary Public Art Program

Alana Bartol, Essential Oils (for Alberta), 2016
archival inkjet prints, 55.88 x 81.28 cm, ed. 1/3
Collection of the City of Calgary Public Art Program

Photos: Essential Oils (for Alberta) exhibition at Open Spaces, City of Calgary, Courtesy of City of Calgary

In 2016, The City of Calgary Public Art Program launched Open AiR, a pilot community-based public art residency. Open AiR offered artists a 12-week residency where they were embedded into two communities. Working out of the historic Fire Hall No. 6 on Memorial Drive N.W., artists were encouraged to consider both the Hillhurst Sunnyside community and the adjacent West Downtown community.

As part of her residency, Bartol co-facilitated plant walks and workshops with a focus on smell and plants, as well as their edible and medicinal properties. She explored these concepts through enfleurage which is a process used to extract fragrances or essential oils from plants and botanical materials. The enfleurage workshop was co-facilitated with Aromatherapist Deanna Russell of Nature Notes and a series of public walks was developed in collaboration with herbalist, botanist, and educator Latifa Pelletier-Ahmed, owner of Latifa’s Herbs and co-owner of ALCLA Native Plants.

Essential Oils (for Alberta) is a series of ten photographs that document the artist’s experiments with the enfleurage process. The artist used botanical (and other materials such as coffee beans and socks) from both communities that were donated, purchased or foraged.