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Vol. 14, No. 2, 2015
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magie dominic's

reviewed by


Magie Dominic is a prolific Newfoundland writer and visual artist . Her work is a cohesive narrative and ongoing exploration of memory and its effects on her life and art. Magie has written a memoir called Street Angel which picks up the thread of narrative from The Queen of Peace Room, a thin book in which she explores her time spent at a retreat.

Although sadly, Street Angel is not illustrated, this slim tome published by Wilfred Laurier University Press is so poignantly written and her language is so evocative as to create vivid mental images. The memoir is about her pre-adolescence as the daughter of a Lebanese Catholic father and a disturbed Protestant mother in a small intolerant Newfoundland town where she attended a catholic school administered by tormenting nuns. Her descriptive narrative and allusions, written in direct simple prose, are remarkably evocative. She charts her thoughts, dreams, sensations and her burgeoning art making while seamlessly weaving the history of the times throughout. In Street Angel's language and tone, there is never a hint of the saccharin or maudlin as the reader is plunged, as in a warm bath, into the author's confusion and pain. There is a common motif -- memory and candour -- which runs through all her work and ties it together not only in her writing but her art installation.

I wrote about (2008) Magie's installation, “The Gown of Stillness, Global Art Peace Installation” -- to give its full appellation -- a mixed media installation with lace, antique fabric, thread, ribbon and other soft fabrics collected from people world wide, as a sign of hope for global peace. “The Gown of Stillness” is an ongoing international installation composed of hundreds of fabric pieces, which may be an accurate description, but it is so much more than the sum of its parts. “The Gown of Stillness” is on a journey -- from a single eight inch square of very plain cotton fabric received in the mail, to archival preservation. The current phase of “The Gown” is documenting its history. That route came into play in 2010 and 2011 while she was assembling her theater archives from the early days of Off-Off Broadway in New York City. That documentation is housed in two locations now: New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center and Fales Library & Special Collection at NYU. Her theater work, art and writing are all interwoven in a way, so as she assembled the theater archives, her art and writing documentation merged with it and with that merger “The Gown of Stillness.”

The archives at Fales NYU provides the most extensive documentation and material about her own artwork and writing: Fales Archive Arrangement.

During the year she will be adding details of “The Gown” to that collection. Her next challenge will be trying to place “The Gown” in a permanent collection with proper preservation facilities for antique lace and assorted types of texture. That’s going to be a real challenge she thinks.


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