26 January – 12 March, 2004
milagro explores the notion of community and “neighbourly” acts through the symbolism of the milagro. The installation consisted of several over-sized milagros, made of lead and copper, ranging in height from two to four feet and secured to the exterior of the Swamp Ward Window. (extending the venue to include the exterior of the porch and the house). The placement on the exterior allowed for weathering that was key in referencing the older milagros that are passed down from generation to generation and re-sold by priests back to milagro vendors.
In Spanish, milagro means miracle or surprise. It is also the name given to small objects used as offerings of good luck and fortune. Traditionally, milagros are made flat, three dimensional and tiny. From one inch to hand size they are made in silver, gold, wood, lead, tin, bone or wax. In the classical Spanish and Mediterranean tradition, milagros are offered to a favourite saint as a reminder of the petitioner’s particular need, as well as being offered in thanks for a request answered. They have also acquired new and useful meanings in North American and South American Hispanic cultures. Here, they have become more than religious items. If a friend is about to have an eye operation, the gift of an eye milagro helps to say “I wish you well.” A pair of lungs can say, “I hope your cold gets better.” An arm and a leg given to a person trying to but a house can wish them good luck in obtaining financing.
Dorene Inglis is a Swamp Ward resident who has participated in many local exhibitions since her move to Kingston in the late 90’s. Previously she participated in both solo and group exhibitions in St. Catherines and London, Ontario. She believes the curiosity of the Swamp Ward moniker creates a mystery and romance that has instilled a certain creative energy that draws people to the area.