When Canadian/American artist and photographer Elizabeth Siegfried discovered a dusty forgotten crate in the attic of her family’s Oxtongue Lake cottage, she wasn’t expecting a time capsule, but that’s exactly what she found, in the form of old film reels, carefully protected in canisters, from decades ago.
She spent the next four years going through over 90 reels of 16 mm film, watching as vivid scenes and stories from the Ringling Brothers Circus came to life. Captured by Siegfried’s grandmother, Elizabeth Chapin White, the films showed clowns cavorting for the crowds, equestrians riding bareback on powerful horses and elephants grazing the grounds of south Florida and upstate New York.
“It was as though my grandmother had reached through time to give me a
tremendous gift,” Siegfried says. “I knew it must be kismet. I also knew that I was about to embark on an important and deeply meaningful cross generational collaboration.”
Siegfried has now given these stories new life, carefully selecting individual frames and converting them to large-scale photographic prints for her upcoming exhibition “CIRCUS!”
CIRCUS! will be on display in Huntsville’s Partner’s Hall at the Algonquin Theatre from July 1 to 31, with an opening reception Saturday, July 14 from 1 to 3 p.m.