From the Historian Laureate – Archived Land : Terrain Archivé


For one of my projects as Edmonton’s Historian Laureate, I am privileged to be taking part in the last exhibit at Jackson Power Gallery before they close their doors: Archived Land : Terrain Archivé.

Land holds memory: layered, fragmented, buried, or strongly etched.  It represents identity and connection to our own history and to those who came before us; a narrative landscape that intersects human experience and the natural world.

I will be exhibiting alongside some exceptional Edmonton artists: Patrick Arès-Pilon & Conor McNally (exhibiting under the collective of BELLE//MONDO), Paddy Lamb, and Sydney Lancaster. Each of us works in the subject areas of memory and land, and the gallery’s layout of separate but interconnected rooms forms an environment for individual artist’s interpretation of the theme, providing the visitor with the perception of movement through time and place. 

For my room in the gallery, I am creating an art installation that honours the legacy of early Edmontonian Gladys Reeves and her fellow citizens who helped make Edmonton the city of green spaces and natural beauty that we can enjoy and be proud of today. Among other achievements, we can thank Gladys and her Edmonton Tree Planting Committee for planting by hand thousands of the mature trees that grace our boulevards today.

Gladys Reeves was an important figure in many sectors of Edmonton’s history. She is perhaps best known for being one of the first women to own a photography studio west of Winnipeg. However,
one of Gladys Reeves’s most significant contributions to Edmonton was her tireless advocacy for the beautification of our city and the preservation of the natural beauty of its ravines and river valley. In 1924 Gladys became the first woman to hold the position of President of the Edmonton Horticultural and Vacant Lots Garden Association, and she was instrumental in the formation of the Edmonton Tree Planting Committee in [1923].

I love trees, I love beautiful home surroundings, & I want the visitors to our City to take home with them the impression that the People of Edmonton must love their City or they would not have taken the trouble to make it lovely.             

Excerpt from notes for a speech by Gladys Reeves [1925], Provincial Archives of Alberta #PR1974.0173.39a

As Edmonton’s Historian Laureate, one of my objectives is to shed light on some of Edmonton’s lesser known stories. Gladys Reeves’s legacy is one that deserves recognition.


Please come to the exhibit and be a part of history!

Archived Land : Terrain Archivé

Jackson Power Gallery, 2ndfl, 9744 60 Ave, Edmonton, AB

Opening reception 7pm, September 14, 2018

Exhibit hours: Noon to 5pm

Saturdays and Sundays, September 15 to 29

Or by appointment: 780-499-7635


Background info from the Provincial Archives of Alberta: Gladys Reeves fonds #PR1974.0173, the City of Edmonton Archives: Office of City Commissioners fonds #RG11 and Edmonton Horticultural Society fonds #MS-89, and Kathryn Chase Merrett’s book “Why Grow Here: Essays on Edmonton’s Gardening History”.

I would like to thank the Edmonton Historical Board and the Edmonton Heritage Council for their support.

I acknowledge that we are on Treaty 6 territory. I acknowledge all of the many First Nations and Métis whose footsteps have marked these lands for centuries

Marlena Wyman is the City of Edmonton’s 5thHistorian Laureate, an archivist and a visual artist. For further information about this exhibit please visit Marlena’s art blog, The Prairie Line: