Marc Losier is an artist based out of Corner Brook, NL where he is a faculty member in the Visual Arts Program at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University. In his work, he uses a wide array of media such as film, photography, installation, and sound. He holds a Masters in Fine Arts from Ryerson University in Toronto and has previously taught at the San Francisco Art Institute and the Ontario College of Art and Design University. Last year, Marc founded the PULP Gallery initiative at Grenfell Campus, the first student-run university visual art gallery in the history of Newfoundland and Labrador. For this particular project, his goal was to create a fragmented photographic imagery of the two blue whale bodies that were extracted by the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) from Bonne Bay after they had washed up on shore in spring 2014. The large mural is installed on the waterfront in the Town of Trout River on the South side of Gros Morne, providing an opportunity for the community to revisit their connection with a story which garnered international attention.
As an artist and long-time educator, Marc’s work examines the ways in which communities form and define their cultural memory through oral histories, images, and iconography. Until the 1960s, blue whales were hunted to near extinction and to this day remain on the World Wide Fund (WWF) For Nature’s endangered species list. Nine of these whales died in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 2014 and three of them washed ashore in Gros Morne National Park. The story captured attention from international media and a number of provincial museums across Canada. The ROM worked closely with community members and staff to extract the whale, however currently there is little to no programming or depictions of this story in the Gros Morne region. Still Life III is part of Marc’s ongoing project, Narratives of Loss, which focuses on the commodification of these blue whales and the broader symbolic meaning of these animals globally. A combination of photography, moving images, and installation, this project seeks a kind of fragmented imagery of these whale bodies in order to re-consider shifting relationships between animals, resources, and environmental modalities today. The projections of tourism upon the whale’s skeleton reflect the local economy and the history of labour in this part of the world. The imagery depicts what is unique about Gros Morne and also demonstrates how this region is connected to the rest of the world in terms of ecology, coastal culture and majestic grandeur. Through the blue whale we are presented with a paradox, an animal of the greatest mythical proportions and a symbol of environmental precarity.