Tonight, as the twilight closes in on November 11th, Remembrance Day, I think of my Father who was one who came back from WWII. The day he left home for the first time, in a soldier’s uniform at 18 years of age, he remembered hearing his mother playing a hymn on the piano as he walked down the road. There was no certainty, only a knowledge that life was precious.
Earlier this year, I traveled to St. John’s Newfoundland. It was a place that has always been on my “to visit” list ever since I studied the map of Canada in my early grades. Bannerman Park in St. John’s holds a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by those of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment soldiers and their families.
“The Homecoming” brings to mind both joy and sorrow, and the need to come together as a community.
“It’s passing on the torch to the next generation.” Sculptor Morgan MacDonald
Vancouver winters and early springs bring an abundance of rain, with heavy clouds surrounding our mountains. The wind is brisk, but not cold, and there is an invigorating moisture in the air. When I leave home, I contemplate whether I should take an umbrella or not. The day that I first discovered what I now call, The Art Road along the Vancouver Seawall, I chose my camera over umbrella.
It was a good decision…
The Vancouver Seawall from Cambie Bridge to Olympic Village had been turned into a mural extravaganza, seemingly overnight. The City of Vancouver and BC Housing created an innovative way to use art to conceal construction work. Even more exciting, they featured artwork by grade 6 and 7 students from the False Creek Elementary School.
Look closely at the artwork embedded with stories and symbolism.
An inukshuk, a landmark built for use by the Inuit, recognizing the diversity of cultural heritages.
A salmon in flight, signifying our responsibility to the environment.
Our water taxi, Aquabus, with mountains and the Burrard bridge in the background, representing the roads and waterways that connect our communities.
The Vancouver Skyline, a reminder that our city is growing and evolving.
The Canadian Flag, celebrating our great nation.
The Peace Symbol, accepting our responsibility to our global community.
Children have the power to transform our world, even at a young age. May we celebrate their work and validate their creative spirit. Remember Pablo Picasso’s mother:
“When I was a child my mother said to me, ‘If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk, you’ll be the pope.’ Instead I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.”
There is a possibility that we may have passed in the street without knowing that we had somehow connected through your artistic endeavour. Yes, it is your mural that appeared overnight along a path that runs under a bridge, leading to a busy street. The one with the brilliant sun shining over a tree, three tulips, a flowering shrub.
I was in a hurry to complete a scheduled task. Until…
The spreading branches, with fresh leaves called to me. There was an enveloping warmth, a feeling of renewal, the arrival of spring.
You reminded me that we live in a beautiful world of light and colour. Pablo Picasso once said, “Art washes away from the souls the dust of everyday life.” Your mural exemplifies this idea.
Looking back, I have no recollection of the “urgent” task. Instead, I have a memory (and photos) of the moment I spent with you via your art.
Wherever you are, whatever you do, I know that you will accomplish great things.
Christmas Eve has arrived. The streets are less crowded as people gather in homes to celebrate this special season. Walking home via the Vancouver Seawall, my husband and I came across a lone artist working with absolute focus on a complex Christmas tree labyrinth of brightly coloured chalk against a large open walkway in Olympic Village. Without doubt, it is a labour of love, a gift to our community.
The definition of labyrinth is a complicated irregular network of passages or paths in which it is difficult to find one’s way. Walking the maze – I couldn’t resist the challenge – was a reminder that we experience complexity and ambiguity. Many times, we face crossroads and competing alternatives that shroud the road ahead. And yet, it is the challenge that makes life interesting, the moments meaningful. Time passes, new opportunities arise.
As we look forward to 2019, may we embrace the labyrinths that come our way.
They found a human leg trapped in a boot. As the story is remembered, the leg washed up on the shore of False Creek. No one claimed it, even though it was prominently displayed in the local police station for all to view. No one showed up or even appeared to be interested in the unusual display. It remains an unsolved mystery.
The police station is no more. Yet, the narrative remains alive, over 100 years later,in the name, Leg-in-Boot Square. And now there is great interest in the current display – Acoustic Anvil: A Small Weight To Forge The Sea.
Leg-in-Boot Square, once a thriving part of False Creek’s industrialization, has taken on a more serene, even sedate, orientation. The chaotic mishmash of forges, boat-builders and stevedores, has been replaced by walkers, runners and bikes that share the Vancouver Seawall. It is a place of respite with benches offering a view of Vancouver’s ever growing skyline and the sailboats berthed at the nearby marina.
Art remembers and gives voice to our histories and legends. This month, the “Acoustic Anvil: A Small Weight to Forge the Sea” gives a hearty nod to Vancouver 1887. Maskull Lasserre has created a massive sculpture, with measurements of approximately three-by-eight-metres, to celebrate False Creek’s industrial era.
The Acoustic Anvil arrived on Thursday, July 19th at 10:30. Dramatic, vibrant, solid – those were the words that came to me when I reached out my hand for the first touch. Then I heard the music.
“What is the sound? Where is it coming from? Where does it transport you.”
There is a special place in our hearts for artists who live big, bold and fully committed to their creative mission. Their vibrant lives act as a strident call to action that prompts, or rather demands, that we follow their example and explore, experience, and share our personal creativity. We are the voice of this time and place, the generation whose moment has come to write our story within the narrative of humanity.
Spanish artist, Okuda San Miguel is one of those bright lights who motivate us to seek a deeper understanding of where imagination takes us. His work is recognized for its geometric prints and multicolored style and design. There are mythological undertones that speak to the need for meaningful dialogue.
Okuda San Miguel’s mural, “Canada Secret Mountains” has come to Vancouver and resides on a building at 325 West 4th. The stories of the British Columbia’s west coast, embedded with Okuda’s insights, has been written for all to see and experience.
May we answer an artist’s call to action and, today, live big lives.