Michelle La Flamme - Swiss Bakery

Artists' Memories of Mount Pleasant
9 Stations
17:15 min Audio
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Michelle La Flamme - Swiss Bakery


Michelle talks about the bakery not only as a place to eat, but as a site to look at a mural showing a strong woman of colour who reminds her of her late sister.


The Swiss Bakery, I yi yi yi Yie. This location. I think I bought the majority of my bread for several years in this exact spot. I would come here and get the bread, or I’d get some kind of a little sweet because it was just one minute from where I lived. And a friend of mine told me about this. She said, oh, you gotta try the Frissant, something I had never heard of before. And as I would sit here eating those things, I would look across the street at the murals and really think about what it means to see a mural with a really strong woman of colour and think about the cultural context.

Unfortunately there was a very heavy time in my life when my sister passed away. And sometimes I would just sit here and I would look at the murals. I would look in the eyes of these women. And I would think about missing my sister, missing her eyes. And somehow I managed to get some kind of comfort or rapport going with these. I don’t know if it was the association with the delicious sweet and the image and the grief process, but somehow those three things, this Swiss Bakery, the goodies that they made and those women’s eyes were all connected to that particular time period. And so every time I see them now, I just, I think of that moment, of trying to make sense of all of that. And even now, when I look at them, I feel just an enormous amount of very complex emotions. And I’m really happy that they’re here. You often see people stopping and taking photographs and finding their own relationship with these extremely powerful women of colour. And I think it took until I was 50 years old to see gigantic women of colour in public spaces being so empowered. I’m happy that that it happened, at least in my fifties.

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