All over Ottawa, on sidewalks, in parks and next to buildings, are art museums hidden in plain sight. Most people don’t think of public art that way, which is why Apt613 is launching this Art Walks series to showcase outdoor art in the city. We start with the sculptures on Elgin Street.
In Saint-Luc Park, The listening tree by Jesse Stewart and Matthew Edwards combines music and form, while the sculpture’s slotted pipes transform wind into sound.
“The best opportunity to hear The listening tree is a day when the wind is blowing from the south, west or southwest and at a speed of at least 15 km/h,” explains Stewart. “Sounds should be more frequent with stronger winds.”
What makes this piece more intriguing is that it is both instrument and listener.
“It was fundamental to our concept of The listening tree that the listening process is two-way: the piece invites us to listen to it and simultaneously listens to us and its surrounding soundscape,” explains Stewart.
The listening tree of Hazi on Vimeo.
Further north, next to the National Arts Centre, the Statuette of Oscar Peterson pays tribute to the famous Canadian jazz pianist who died in 2007. Combining music and bronze, this sculpture plays recordings of Peterson’s music. Technology was key in bringing this statue to life.
“Playing music near the portrait was discussed for the portrait of Glenn Gould in Toronto in 1999,” says the artist Ruth Abernethy. “At that time, the technology to stream music to the site was too limited and, therefore, too expensive to include. Ironically, I had offered to “sculpt Canada’s OTHER best pianist” a decade later and had always imagined that visitors could “hear Oscar” during their visit! »
While I bet no one called the Montreal artist Francois Montillaud a prior historian, this description fits him, as his sculptures are a visual history of the community.
“I conducted a series of facial expression interviews and body language exercises in a film studio with volunteers from different communities who live or work in the Elgin Street neighborhood,” says Montillaud, who past several months in Ottawa working on this project. “Using footage from these filmed labs, I was able to select expressive participants to cast their faces and create plaster copies.”
The latest carvings, unveiled in 2020are the result of this collaborative process.
“I used 3D printing to cast them in bronze and laser cutting to create the layered sculptures in front of Minto Park. By combining traditional sculpting techniques with new technologies, I was able to create the works” , explains Montillaud in an e-mail in French. The statues of Montillaud are located in four locations: two in Minto Park, one in Boushey Square, one at the corner of McLeod and Elgin and one at the corner of MacLaren and Elgin.
Next to City Hall, on the road that extends Nepean Street, is The lost child by inuit artist david rubenwhich reflects his teenage experience of wandering among tall buildings in the city.
In a handwritten letter to Apt613, Ruben explains that the meaning of his work has changed over time.
“Thirty years ago, words like ‘urban environment’ did not exist in our everyday language,” he writes. “In hindsight, the idea of urban environment and space around the sculpture did not matter. Now that we think and talk, the idea plays an important role in our cultural habitation and urban sprawl The perspective of The Lost Child takes on new meaning, as with population growth and extensive urban sprawl around and beyond our cities, getting lost or being lost is our common reality, and often our regret.
Meanwhile, in Confederation Park stands the Kwakiutl Totem by the late artist Kwakiutl Henry Huntwhich British Columbia donated in 1971 to commemorate the centenary of its entry into Canada.
“My father was a great artist and teacher of his culture and it’s wonderful to see his work in such good condition after all this time,” says Richard Hunt, a renowned artist in his own right, about his father. “It’s good that his perch is in a beautiful setting and continues to be enjoyed. The descendants of Henry Hunt carry on his traditions and culture today.
Also in Confederation Park is the National Aboriginal Veterans Monument by artist Lloyd Pinay of the Peepeekisis First Nation in Saskatchewan. This memorial has an interesting feature: all four sides have a person looking straight ahead, so no matter where you stand, it feels like you’re looking ahead.
Abstract figures and history
Next to the town hall is The living room, a surreal artwork with twisted doors and windows and quirky TV and chairs. A few steps away is the Canadian tribute to human rightsthe world’s first human rights monument, inaugurated by the Dalai Lama in 1990. Then there is the brilliant Women are people! sculpture and a tribute to the Stanley Cup.
The Diplomats (with a pinch of flight)
In front of the British High Commission are the nature girls british sculptor statues Laura Ford.
“We are proud to have brought innovative British art to the Ottawa cityscape,” said Sam Kelly, spokesperson for the British High Commission. “Laura Ford’s sculptures have endured 25 Canadian winters and many adventures, including an unplanned excursion to Vanier in 1998!
About this tour: Shortly after being unveiled in 1998, stump girl (a die nature girls) was stolen, before being found in Vanier a few months later. the infamous nature girls may be heading back soon, as the High Commission plans to move to Sussex Drive next year.
In Minto Park you will find the bust of General Jose de San Martina 1973 gift from Argentina.
“The Elgin Street Monument honors and pays tribute to our liberator and hero of Argentine and South American independence,” said Martín Presenza, Second Secretary at the Argentine Embassy. “In Argentina, he is known as “El Padre de la Patria” (father of the country). He was the liberator of three South American republics: Argentina, Chile and Peru.
The monument is a testament to the friendship between Argentina and Canada, adds Presenza, as both countries share a progressive vision for their respective societies.