Locations: Roos Island, Victoria Park, Kitchener & Cambridge Sculpture Garden, Cambridge (Photo: Robert McNair for Sunoptic)

The Civilization of the Wild is a site-specific installation of debris huts on Roos Island of Victoria Park where the community will be invited to learn and share knowledge about the local bioregion. A debris hut is four-season human shelter made from foraged natural materials inspired by squirrel’s nests. The occupation of “Civilization of the Wild” in the region’s urban core may remind the community of their fundamental connection to the natural world. 

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Photos by Marijana Vorkapic.

For the duration of CAFKA.16, Harder calls on the collective wisdom in her community to help awaken the wild seed that is perennially dormant within each person. Harder will be hosting a number of teachings in "The Civilization of the Wild" given by local people of the land. This will include knowledge sharing on shelter building, tool making, and species identification. While knowledge sharing sessions have a scheduled leader, Harder encourages everyone to share their stories and knowledge of the local bioregion as well. 

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Photo: Marijana Vorkapic

Kitchener-based Meghan Harder was born in St. Catharines. She is a graduate of the University of Waterloo Fine Arts Program, which included an exchange to the Bezealel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, Israel. Inspired by the politically imbued artworld she was immersed in while in Israel, Harder has been interested in understanding the capacity of art to address and affect local communities and issues. Since returning to Canada, Harder has focused on addressing primarily environmental concerns. Most recently, she has been pursuing an art practice in alignment with the longstanding animating cultural principal of bioregionalism, a notion or intuition that we can find our physical and spiritual truth in the local natural systems that we inhabit. The resulting work acts as a point of cultural mediation between individuals and the bioregion, resists economic and political domination by a civilization that is disconnected from our local ecologic community, and imagines alternative ways of living. This includes resisting artistic practices that require consuming goods that have come from somewhere else. In collaboration with local ecologists, Harder is experimenting with creating installation and traditional art materials such as paper, pigment, and tools using invasive species or green waste. In this way, she hopes her art will not only elevate the local bioregion in the minds of community members but also contribute to restoration of the local environment. 

Curated and produced by CAFKA


Top photp: Robert McNair

Other works in CAFKA.16