Public Art in The Quarters
This fall, the fences and barricades will disappear to reveal the Quarters Armature. As you explore the area a few unlikely sights will greet you: poetry etched into the mid-block crossings; a billowing wild rose; and numerous wild animals erupting through clothing to form surprising human-like forms.
The artworks were all created and installed through the City of Edmonton’s Policy to Provide and Encourage Art in Public Spaces. Through this program, one percent of qualifying construction costs for municipal projects is allocated to the acquisition of public art. Edmonton’s public art enlivens our landscape, makes our streets and buildings beautiful, and invites us to see the city in a new way.
Wild Life – Brandon Vickerd
At first glance, Wild Life looks like two people leisurely going about their day. Closer to, the bronzes are actually squirrels, raccoons, foxes, owls, and deer working together to appear human. Humorously referencing cartoon clichés, this sculpture reflects on our relationship to nature. Viewers’ perceptions of the mundane are challenged as a person in jeans and a hoodie morphs into a conglomeration of animals that is both shocking and intriguing.
Then, Here, Now – Derek Besant, RCA
Working in a form he calls “architexture” Derek Besant’s artwork creates a “walking tour” of the Quarters. Placed at each mid-block crossing along the Armature, the poem, sandblasted into the granite crossings, can be read backwards and forwards. Then, Here, Now invites pedestrians to be mindful of their surroundings and stories as they follow the narrative through the neighbourhood.
Wild Rose – Rebecca Belmore & Osvaldo Yero
Wild Rose incorporates two symbols of Alberta – the wild rose and the lodgepole pine. Eighteen feet in height, the stainless steel sculpture appears to be an over-sized flower. Closer to, the original materials reveal themselves. The stem is a weathered lodgepole pine tree stripped of its branches and bark. At the top, a piece of cloth, pierced by the pole, billows with the wind, appearing like an abstract flower. Wild Rose stands as a contemporary and symbolic marker of belonging in a landscape imbued with Indigenous history, and rich with a diversity of natural resources.
The Edmonton Arts Council will present an artist talk with Rebecca Belmore at Boyle Street Plaza on October 8 at 7 p.m.
To find out more about the Edmonton Arts Council, visit edmontonarts.ca, or explore the City of Edmonton Public Art Collection Online Gallery at edmontonpublicart.ca.
Eva Marie Clarke is a Communications Officer with the Edmonton Arts Council.