WHO WE ARE
Founder & Director: Fawn Daphne Plessner
Daphne Plessner is an artist and academic and a returning resident of S,DÁYES/Pender Island, Canada. Born in Canada, for 30 years she lived in various countries such as the USA, Germany, UK and Ireland. She is from a family of artists and politically active intellectuals on her father’s side (3 generations of German-Jewish university professors), with a (Lutheran) great grandfather who, as a senior diplomat, worked for the then emergent Republic of Weimar, Germany, in its transition from a monarchy. Her (maternal) great grandfather was the last in line of hereditary regional ‘landlords’ who transported his family and villagers from the Ukraine to Canada (1913-17) to escape the violence of the Bolshevik’s. In the 1920s, he founded a small settlement, called Kalyna, in Saskatchewan. The community that emerged brought into contact this network of Ukrainian families and individuals from the local First Nation who had in common many social and economic practices that facilitated co-existence and friendships. The British colonial government, in an act of enforced assimilation, took over the management of the settlement, prompting the family's move west. The family was barred from returning to their homeland in the Ukraine due to the emergence of the 'Iron Curtain' and instead established a successful farming enterprise in Alberta and then expanded further west, to BC. Both sides of her family, for different reasons and at different moments in the 20th century, came to Canada to escape extensive state violence in Europe and Eurasia. Even though the British-Canadian colony proved to be a problematic refuge (i.e., its practices of internment camps, racism, suppression of language, anglicization), perpetual recognition, acknowledgment and gratitude is owed to the First Nation Peoples who were the true benefactors of this immigrant family. Plessner studied Art at the Akademie der Bildenden Kunste, Munich, Germany. She has a BA in Philosophy (Birkbeck) and a PhD in Politics & Art (Goldsmiths), University of London, UK.
Honorary Director: Emily Artinian
Emily Artinian is an artist living in Philadelphia and is of Armenian and Scottish descent. In 2011 she developed Street Road Artists' Space in Cochranville, Chester County, Pennsylvania from an inherited family real estate business: the project, located on 5 acres in a suburban/rural area, hosts cultural projects that relate to land ownership and its relationship to inequality. Its focus is on exhibiting and supporting projects that challenge private land ownership and imagine more equitable horizons. Street Road is located on the ancestral lands of the Lenape, original people of the mid-Atlantic area, forced west by British and US governments. In an area that lies between rural farmland, Amish country, horse country, land preservation efforts, towns impoverished by big-box proliferation, and encroaching suburbanization growing out from the cities of Philadelphia, Wilmington and Lancaster, Street Road seeks to create meeting points between the local community and wider cultural landscapes in the US and abroad, in consideration of human relationships with land - past, current and future. Artinian has a BA in Russian Literature from Columbia University, an MA in Slavic Languages and Literatures from Yale. She also apprenticed with letterpress printer Peter Kruty and earned her MA with Distinction in artists books at Camberwell College of Art and Design, UK. Through the early 2000s she was a Senior Lecturer at Chelsea College of Art and Design and at Byam Shaw at Central Saint Martins in London, UK, and has also taught at the Pennsylvania College of Art and Design.
Itamar Sitbon holds a BMA in New Media & Sound Arts from Emily Carr University of Art & Design in Vancouver, Canada. In the summer of 2020, he was sponsored by the Shumka Centre at Emily Carr, under the Art Apprenticeship Network Scheme, to help develop the Tree Museum's website and its new podcast series called Talking Territory. In addition to managing the audio-technical production of the podcasts, Itamar also created the music and the logo design for Talking Territory. The name Itamar translates as 'Island of trees' (date palm island).