that bright and beautiful life
... and when our last hour comes we shall meet it humbly, and there, beyond the grave, we shall say that we have suffered and wept, that our life was bitter, and God will have pity on us. Ah, then we shall see that bright and beautiful life; we shall rejoice and look back upon our sorrow here; a tender smile, and we shall rest...

from Uncle Vanya by Anton Checkov

On October 16, 2002, ten days after her 66th birthday, my mother, Shirley Stewart, died after a two-year battle with lung cancer. As I came to accept the inevitability of my mother’s death and sorted through my feelings over the intervening ten years what has emerged is a desire to create a body of work to honour her. that bright and beautiful life is my attempt to do that.

I am grateful to the Canada Council for the Arts and the City of Ottawa for their financial support of this work.