I have been an artist for as long as I can remember: from the moment I could hold a paint brush in my hand. I grew up in Alberta (Canada), where I explored a variety of art forms – including the ancient craft of stained glass, which I learned at my first job in a glass studio. In art school, I dabbled in photography, printmaking, and drawing, with a continued focus on my first love – painting.

Mid-way through my degree I left my prairie hometown and moved across the country to Ontario, where I was immediately struck by my new forested surroundings. The towering pines and twisted maples captivated me, inspiring years of landscape-based paintings. I finished my bachelor’s degree at York University (Toronto) in 2002, got married, then spent some time in the school of life as a full-time mother of two kids.

Becoming a mother sparked a journey of self-discovery and healing in my life that profoundly changed the trajectory of my art. Being responsible for little ones gave me a window into my own vulnerability as a child – in particular, my experience of girlhood in a highly religious family. I started challenging the harmful ideas I had internalized about myself as a woman and began embracing my inherent strength and self-worth. As an artist, I felt compelled to express this inner transformation, so I returned to the forest with my camera and began taking self-portraits.

I asked my daughter to join me when she turned seven, and we have been collaborating on this photo-based project ever since. Together, we tell stories of healing between self and inner child, mother to daughter, and woman to woman. The portraits we stage in the woods and grasslands suggest sacredness, with the surrounding trees and plants joining us as supportive spirits.

Recently, I have been incorporating red yarn into the series, to honour our shared experience of womanhood. I wove the yarn into a fabric strip, placing this long red line in the landscape to symbolize the thread that runs between us and our maternal ancestors. I’m excited by the practice of weaving because it speaks to the traditions that have been handed down from woman to woman, but also the potential to weave something entirely new into being. I hope that through my life and my art, I can do exactly that.

Christina Margaretha 2024

As a woman of settler descent, I would like to acknowledge that my art was created on the traditional territory of the Ojibway, Huron-Wendat, and Haudenosaunee. I thank them for sharing this land where I live and work and commit to walking alongside them with respect and care for this land.