In 2006-2007 while working as an artist-in-residence in Redvers, a small town in the Southeast corner of Saskatchewan, Heather Benning restored the interior of an abandoned farmhouse to the date of its abandonment in the mid 60’s. She replastered the walls, re-shingled the roof with shingles recycled from the north wall, removed the north wall and replaced it with plexiglass so viewers could look into the house the way they would a child’s dollhouse. By sealing the house and keeping the audience at a remove, viewers were forced to take note of what generates a sense of home. The Dollhouse aims to speak to our profound desire for re-connection with place.
In 2013, with filmmaker Chad Galloway, Heather documented the burning of The Dollhouse, (film released in 2014). This controlled burn was part of the plan from the beginning. The film asks viewers to reckon with the unique grief caused by losing a home. This is particularly poignant at a time when we’re increasingly losing our home-places to unfettered industry and climate change.
The use of the house was donated to Heather by the landowners.
The Dollhouse was located near Sinclair, Manitoba.
The Dollhouse film was supported by Canada Council for the Arts.
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