Laura Santini, XTINCT, 2011–12. Oyster shells, organic matter, metal net, wire, and wood, 84 x 290 x 244 cm.

Laura Santini


McCord Museum

Laura Santini’s recent installation, sited within an exhibition of Innu art, consisted of a polar bear made from oyster shells collected at Montreal seafood restaurants. The project began modestly enough as Santini brought home a bag or two from each restaurant visit. She wasn’t sure what would become of the shells, but the pile grew and grew, until her studio began to resemble an archaeological dig at an ancient Amerindian site, complete with shellfish midden. Santini’s shells, however, were decontextualized, displaced, and eventually given over to art. She used to gather shells around Antigonish, Nova Scotia, where her family spent the summers. …see the entire review in the print version of January/February’s Sculpture magazine.