Cree/Métis/Salteaux artist Lori Blondeau's Asiniy Iskwew, part of the Scotiabank Contact Festival, is on display in Devonian Square in the heart of Ryerson University's downtown campus.
Asiniy Iskwew (2016)—whose Cree words translate to “Rock Woman”—continues the artist’s interest in rocks connected to Indigenous traditions, such as petroforms (large stones or boulders outlining anthropomorphic, zoomorphic, or geometric forms), and rock art (paintings on or carvings into rock surfaces). In this series of photographs, Blondeau celebrates and gives homage to Plains Indigenous rock formations, significant ancient sites created for sacred and rite-of-passage ceremonies, and for recording battles and histories. She draws from oral histories of Mistaseni—a 400-tonne sacred boulder marking an important Indigenous gathering place that the Saskatchewan government dynamited in 1966 to make room for a man-made lake. Capturing performative interventions in the landscape, the images depict the artist standing statuesquely atop glacial boulders, draped in blood-red velvet cloth. Strong and solemn, her figure reflects the resilience of Indigenous cultures.
Situated in Devonian Square, a meeting place with a man-made pond in the centre of Ryerson’s campus, the photographs are seamlessly adhered to the contemporary site’s two-billion-year-old boulders imported from the Canadian Shield. The location resonates with its complex connections to the ancient sites of Blondeau’s research, as the Square serves as a gathering area, but one that is artificially constructed for an urban environment. This divergence points to issues of displacement and environmental preservation, offering a potent reminder of Toronto’s pre-colonial history and the controversial treaties that renounced Indigenous rights to ancestral lands. Here, Blondeau occupies the site—as if summoning its spirits—and proclaims (her) Indigenous history and irrefutable connection to the land.
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One special highlight Jane's Walk tour of the eastern side of Harbord Village was the abundance of street art--often bright in colour, sometimes quite ingenious, never unattractive--on the garages and walls of the back alleys of the neighbourhood.
David French Lane, named after the late Canadian playwright, had its fair share.
Croft Street is particularly rich in this density.
David French Lane, named after the late Canadian playwright, had its fair share.
Croft Street is particularly rich in this density.
When I went down to the Lake Ontario shoreline last month to take in Ice Breakers, the Waterfront BIA's winter public art, I should have known that the effects of the works would have needed a winter. In that the weather this winter really hasn't been very winterish, I was let down. This is not the fault on the part of the artists and architects involved: Leeward Fleet, pictured in the first two photos, remained evocative despite the cold spring weather, I can see how the zebra-striped Incognito and the Icebox at HT0 Park would have worked with a bit of snow coverage, the two waving hands of Tailored Twins have an endearing whimsy, and Winter Diamonds would have been superb surrounded by a field of snow at Music Garden Park. It's just that the weather let these works down.
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- Torontoist reports on Winter Stations.
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I am definitely going to see Winter Stations this week, described by the Toronto Star's Peter Goffin. The only question is whether I'll be going Thursday or Friday.
A hall of mirrored buoys, an upside-down forest, a giant dog made of recycled materials.
For the third year in a row, the Winter Stations Design Competition has made over eight lifeguard stations in the Beach into fantastical art projects.
Dotting the sandy shore, from the foot of Woodbine Ave. nearly all the way to Balmy Beach Club, the winter stations will add some artistic curiosity to the chilly water front for the next five weeks.
“One of the reasons (Toronto) is a glorious city is because of the arts,” said Mayor John Tory, who was on hand Monday afternoon to help unveil the installations.
“This celebrates artists from here and from abroad and it allows part of the soul of the city to come out. It allows people to each have their own reaction to these creative installations that we’re seeing on the beach in the winter.”
The Toronto Star carries May Warren's article for Metro noting an upcoming gallery showing in Mississauga celebrating the life of that city's long-time mayor Hazel McCallion. I may well go to Mississauga for this!
She has inspired paintings, crayon drawings, even a Mississauga version of the Mona Lisa.
Now former Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion is getting her very own art exhibit to show off these tributes.
Stuart Keeler, curator and manager of museums for Mississauga, said the city is looking for submissions from the public and doesn’t think they will be hard to find.
“Sometimes monthly, we get phone calls of, ‘I have a painting of Hazel,’ ” he said. “This is a common occurrence.”
They’ve already received 25 works of art for the spring show and there’s no cap on how many they’ll take.
- blogTO notes that yesterday was a temperature record here in Toronto, reaching 12 degrees Celsius in the middle of February.
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Facebook's Simon tagged me with André Masson, and I picked his Pedestal Table in the Studio. This work of his speaks to me, what can I say?
If you want to take part in this ongoing Facebook event, just like this post.
I saw Toronto's Graffiti Alley for the first time earlier this month, visiting with Facebook's Mark. Stretching from Portland Street in the east to Spadina Avenue in the west in the Fashion District, at its worst Graffiti Alley can be just another long, dirty, non-descript downtown alley. At its best, it is full of fun and bright works of art in the tradition of Warhol or Haring or Basquiat.
The Globe and Mail's Matthew Hague describes the various installations planned for this year's iteration of Winter Stations, at the Beaches. I can't wait.
During the year’s grimmest month – February, when our shoes can handle the salt stains no more – Toronto’s annual Winter Stations event, now in its third and most creatively ambitious year, is a revelation. The public art event in the city’s Beach neighbourhood involves eight teams of artist and designers from Canada and around the world erecting thoughtful, provocative and fantastical structures that draw people out of their hibernation.
The theme of this year’s iteration is Catalyst, and the most exciting installations challenge viewers to change their perceptions on an important issue and even instigate change themselves. One called Flotsam and Jetsam, designed by a team of architecture students from the University of Waterloo, looks like a beautiful, 20-foot high sculpture of a fish. On closer inspection, its torso, filled with plastics, is a commentary about how our reliance on disposable packaging is polluting the environment.
Another, Collective Memory, by a Spanish and Italian team, is composed of bottle-lined walls. Visitors are encouraged to take and leave messages about their experiences immigrating to Canada, using the bottles as the means of exchange. The concept was inspired by the statistic that by 2031 nearly half of Canadians over 15 will be foreign born or born to foreign parents, and through public interaction it should tell a compelling, complex and dynamic narrative about what it’s like to land on new shores.
Inspired by Winnipeg’s Warming Huts: An Art + Architecture Competition on Ice, an annual public art event that has been running since 2009, the Winter Stations competition started in 2015 and interest in it has grown steadily since. This year, the most submissions yet (over 350) came in for the eight pavilions. There are few formal requirements to enter a proposal. The entrant doesn’t have to be a registered architect, professional artist or have a portfolio of projects (“We’ve had children submit ideas,” says architect Aaron Hendershott, one of the event’s organizers). The proposal simply has to incorporate one of the lifeguard stands that are spaced along the shore and be realistically buildable within a $10,000 budget (the funding comes from a variety of sponsors, including Hendershott’s firm, RAW Design).
To stand out, it also helps to take risks, as many of the best Winter Stations have in the past. “The proposals that excite me the most are maybe the most difficult to pull off,” Hendershott says. “Some, on paper, I just don’t know if they are going to pan out. But then they work in the most wonderful and awesome ways.” Last year, for example, there was a public (clothing-mandatory) sauna and a wood-burning fire pit, both of which Hendershott believes became “community assets” for the winter.