Double Dutch at Paul Phillips Hall – Guest Post by Laura Trunkey
Double Dutch was launched at the Paul Phillips Hall in Victoria this April. For the launch, and two weeks afterwards, work by artist Mike Andrew McLean filled the foyer of the hall – The Little Fernwood Gallery. These pieces were made in response to the stories of Double Dutch. Below is some documentation of the exhibition, as well as a brief description of each work and how it relates to the story it represents.
Though Mike is primarily a photographic artist, he used a number of different mediums for the exhibition. His photo-based work can be found on his website: www.mikeandrewmclean.com.
Intensely imaginative and darkly emotional, the weird and wonderful stories in Double Dutch deftly alternate between fantasy and reality, transporting readers into strange worlds that are at once both familiar and uncanny — where animals are more human, and people more mysterious, than they first appear.
Shape-shifters, doppelgangers, and spirits inhabit the extraordinary worlds depicted in Trunkey’s stories: a single mother believes her toddler is the reincarnation of a terrorist; Ronald Reagan’s body double falls in love with the first lady; a man grieves for his wife after a bear takes over her body. The collection also includes moving tales grounded in painful and touching reality: a young deaf girl visits Niagara Falls before she goes blind; an elephant named Topsy is killed on Coney Island by Thomas Edison in 1903; and a woman learns the truth about her son’s disappearance while searching with her husband in the Canadian Rockies.
This enchanting and, at times, heartbreaking debut collection of stories hails the arrival of an exceptional new literary talent.