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“Bill Was Here”

by


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Most people won’t get the title of this piece, as I know from asking a few friends, and they didn’t get it. So, don’t feel bad if you don’t. I titled the piece ” Bill Was Here”, because that is what I was thinking of as I worked on the piece, actually, it came to mind when I first put the pieces together for the first time.

“Hands Up”, was a phrase that was made infamous by the soft-spoken and often apologetic train robber, Bill Miner. Born 1842, in Bowling Green Kentucky, Miner left Kentucky in his teens and moved west to New Mexico. Miner took on the role of dispatch rider delivering letters for General Wright during the then Apache War. Being paid up to $25 per letter, it didn’t take long for Miner to become dependent on his lifestyle of spending. To accumulate more money for his spending habit, Miner took up train robbing. After numerous robberies and many years in prison, it was on September 10, 1904 that Bill Miner and two others robbed the CPR #1 train near Kamloops, BC. Unfortunately for Miner and his crew, they disconnected the wrong compartments and their only take was a small amount of cash and a compartment full of liver pills. Captured not long after, with liver pills on hand, they were arrested and the Mountie said to Bill, ” Hands Up”.

Now for my idea, here we have a figure with his ’ hands ’ up…for me, it’s the passenger(s) on the train. The figure is dressed in what would have been thought of as a ‘Canadian’, at the time. (And in our time it’s still a thought to some people south of the border). I’m not trying to be derogatory or disrespectful when I do this, I’m just playing on a belief and on history.

-michael

Other available artwork you might like by Michael Massie:

Michael Massie

Michael Massie

RCA OC

Inuit, Métis

Happy Valley - Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

(1962- )

Massie’s work is a reflection of his mixed Inuit, Métis and Scottish heritage. In it, he investigates both traditional and contemporary themes. He has achieved renown for his innovative teapots that combine themes and symbols from his native Inuit culture with European traditions. Massie has been twice short-listed for the coveted Prix Saidye Bronfman and has an extensive international reputation. His work has been shown in North America and Europe, including the National Gallery of Canada. He was elected a member of Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 2011.

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