This mural by Bianca Weeko Martin is a pair of interior domestic spaces — one meant to invoke the “particular” through sited details, the other presenting a “universal” room that could belong to anyone, or no one. The compositions emerged from a recent research project examining interior spaces as depicted in Canadian paintings and drawings, preceded by an architectural study of the artist’s ancestral house in the Philippines. Material details from the ancestral house, such as capiz shell windows and rattan furniture, are examined in the first domestic space as specific historical traces of the house’s users and occupiers. Memories of inhabited space and a childhood home layer over one another and fill the surface. In the other domestic space, colour, line work and delineations of space are emphasized.
Using drawing as an analog to research, the mural asks: what do particular details tell us about a historical context that the universal cannot? What does the universal enable for empathy and solidarity, that the particular excludes? When does universalizing verge on generalizing?