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On a southern shore of Labrador lies the inlet of L’Anse Amour, once known to French fishermen as L’Anse aux Morts. Inland, at the edge of a nest of stunted spruce, not far from a rim of sandy beach, is found one of the oldest burial mounds in North America. Seventy-five hundred years ago, the Maritime Archaic, the first people to reach what is now Newfoundland & Labrador, put to rest, in a broad pit deep in the sand, the body of a 12-year child...face down, with a slab of rock across the child’s lower back. Near the head they placed a cache of knives and spear points, and an ivory walrus tusk. Below the neck was set a whistle made from the hollow bone of a bird. All the while, on either side of the body, the funeral fires blazed into the night.
For its age and complexity, this burial mound has few to equal it anywhere in the world. It led artists Robin Smith Peck, Kevin Major, and Tara Bryan to visit the site together in the fall of 2004. The result is a striking artist’s book, a collaboration that captures both the mystery inherent in the site and humanness of the child it enclosed.
Smith Peck’s earth-rich print images overlay each other as well as the lines of Major’s poetic reflection on the mound. Bryan’s choice of papers and book structure hold the elements in balance, allowing the journey through the book to parallel to the excavation of the site itself.
The text is handset in 16-point Bembo Monotype and printed at walking bird press in St. John’s, Newfoundland. The images combine digital, relief, chîne collé and stencil printing, using various Japanese and North American handmade papers. The project, undertaken with the support of Parks Canada, was completed through 2006-07 and is published in a limited edition of 30 copies.
The book is currently offered at the introductory price of $ 900 (CND) plus shipping and handling and HST where applicable. To order, contact Tara Bryan, 63 Deermarsh Road, Flatrock, NL A1K 1C8, Canada, 709-351-4118 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.