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He Named Her Amber

Iris Häussler
Art Gallery of Ontario

In 2007, Iris Häussler was invited to create a work for the inauguration of the newly transformed Art Gallery of Ontario. She proposed an elaborate in situ piece entitled He Named her Amber to be located in The Grange, a 19th century mansion now part of the Gallery. Häussler presented a complex narrative around a young Irish woman who had worked as a maid at the Grange. Mysteriously bequeathed papers revealed that Mary O’Shea had over the years hidden objects and documents in and around the house. Subsequently, Archaeological Services Ontario (ASO)found a veritable Pandora’s box of items and, since opening in 2008, thousands of visitors have toured the site. Only after the event did the artist and the Gallery reveal to the world that ‘He Named Her Amber’ was a commissioned work of art and not an historical find.

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