“Art does not solve problems but makes us aware of their existence. It opens our eyes to see and our brain to imagine.” Magdalena Abakanowicz.
Over the years, I have walked with the Walking Figures and felt the presence of the sculptor who created them – Magdalena Abakanowicz. Situated near the busy Vancouver street corner of Broadway and Cambie, surrounded by the noise of construction and progress, these 9-foot tall, monumental, headless cast iron figures challenge me to consider my place within a complex society.
Stately in their quiet solitude, the Walking Figures merge into the stream of city life that flows with passer-by conversations and laughter. These Walking Figures have a message for us, embedded in their cast iron bodies by the sculptor who gave them life. It is a message that comes to me as a gentle voice that has been energized by a powerful need to warn against a mindless herd mentality.
Magdalena Abakanowicz brings attention to the transformation and loss of the individual within a group as a reference to the human condition and the shaping of our world throughout history,
Born on June 20, 1930 of Tartar descent, Magdalena Abakanowicz is recognized as one of the most influential sculptors and artists of the 21st century. Poland, her place of birth and native country, considers her as their national treasure. Known for her use of textiles as a sculptural medium, her outdoor installations grace major collections and museums throughout Europe and North America.
The imagery of Magdalena Abakanowicz uses materials that embrace nature and ancient mediums. They speak of her personal history and survival.
May we remember her words, “It is easy to follow, but it is uninteresting to do easy things. We find out about ourselves only when we take risks, when we challenge and question.”