Elizabeth McQueen

Posted on by batisseur


Elizabeth McQueen artist“Elizabeth McQueen, before she retired, was head of Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary art department in Hamilton, at one time the largest high school art department in the province.

As an art teacher in an inner-city school, and also a teacher of native studies, she was fascinated (and still is, as you will see) by visual symbols of all kinds. Her interest included symbols that appear in native culture — and others used when literacy can’t be counted on, often by the disenfranchised trying to get around hostile authority.

“Teaching graphic design I was always looking for more North American sources of symbols,” says Elizabeth. “The Hobo symbols were such a great tradition and still so relevant.”

They were simple markings: carved, scratched, written or etched on trees, fence posts and other surfaces, often in areas along the rail routes. They were made by the itinerant, transient populations known as hobos, whose ranks grew during the Great Depression.”

Quoted from the Hamilton Spectator article by Jeff Mahoney “Symbols of the disenfranchised from another era” (Feb.10,2014)