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From 2001-2002 I completed a series called Martyrs Murder. The final image for that series was The Martyrdom of St. Nicholas. The photograph depicts Santa Claus on a cross in an idyllic Canadian winter landscape.

The ideas contained within The Martyrdom of St. Nicholas lead me to The Canadiana Martyrdom Series. My strategy for these photographs was to use paraphernalia that is quintessentially Canadian: landscapes obtained from calendars and tourism posters (e.g.. panoramic vistas of the Rockies or the wheat fields of Saskatchewan), Canadian "icons" like Anne of Green Gables, the RCMP, hockey players and Bob and Doug MacKenzie, and animals associated with the north, such as polar bears, elk, moose, beavers and howling wolves.

The photographs still depict spectacles of violence; martyrs continue to die, and the audience, both animal and human, still bear witness to the crimes being committed, but the narratives, now absurdly "Canadiana", are more ambiguous and layered than previous work. The content no longer refers to specific Christian martyrs but to tourism, national identity, Canadian culture and industry.

The work also addresses issues about apathy (how life goes on despite the violence around us), and the way in which murder is used as a form of entertainment (note the popularity of the TV show CSI). I'm also curious how humour functions when it comes to images of human suffering, and whether it is possible to suspend disbelief when viewing the torture of plastic dolls.

The Canadiana Martyrdom Series - Preview Thumbnail