Welcome to my mini tour of some of the fabulous works of public art that I enjoyed viewing while walking around the waterfront areas of Vancouver, BC. The "digital orca" sculpture above was created by the Canadian artist and designer Douglas Coupland was designed to commemorate the workers in and around Burrard Inlet and Coal Harbour. The stunning backdrop of the harbour and Rocky Mountains is a perfect contrast to this modern piece which truly took my breath away!
This dramatic sculpture called "Engagement"is one of a series of sculptures by Dennis Oppenheim, depicting two diamond engagement rings. This version was installed in 2005 at Sunset Beach. Standing nearly 30 feet tall, the "diamonds" are illuminated and tilting away from one another, composed of translucent plexiglass boxes, steel and aluminum. While I originally read that the sculpture examines the relationshiop between marriage and the traditional dwelling, I just read that the sculptor generally declined to comment on the meaning of his work, and my initial impression was that these were two modern versions of the traditional Jewish wedding ring which is actually a little house cast as a ring!
I just couldn't resist this little departure from the topic, as I just LOVE these rings, created and used in 18th and 19th century Europe during the Jewish wedding ceremony under the chuppa. As I understand the ring belonged to the community and was used at each wedding. The home, or "bayit" is an important Jewish symbol, and it is customary to wish a new couple that they merit to build a bayit ne’eman b’yisrael (a faithful home in Israel). What does a faithful home mean? It means implanting a foundation firmly in the ground so that the housedoesn’t fall over. It means creating an atmosphere of strength, commitment, and will. And dear readers, as you can see, the wedding ring sculpture above is certainly firmly implanted in the ground, so that is my personal interpretation, maybe I'm right? As it turns out the artist's father was Jewish, so I may be right on track, though the artist passed away in 2011, leaving us guessing.
I absolutely love this sculpture, entitled "The Drop" and located at the foot in Burrard Street at Canada Center and next to the Vancouver Convention Center. The sculpture was created by inges idee a group of four German artists: Hans Hemmert, Axel Lieber, Thomas Schmidt, and Georg Zey, and depicts conceptually a large, gentle "raindrop" captured in its descent at the moment of contact.
These color blocked concrete silos aren't truly sculputre, but I couldn't resist sharing this photo with you, as I just love the color combination chosen and I truly appreciated the effort made to make this active concrete factory located on Granville Island just a little bit artsy, as it is located next to a well known Canadian art and design school as well as an area filled with artist's studios.
This inukshuk sculpture, located in English Bay is built from stacked blocks of granite to depict a human form. This sculputure was originally built for the World Expo 1986, and sited at English Bay after the fair. Artist Alvin Kanak said, "By a lake an Inukshuk means lots of fish." The figure is a "reminder of the ingenuity of my people in addressing transportation and communications challenges prior to the introduction of modern technology." To learn more about Inukshuk, read my previous post here.
This sculputre by Liz Magor, entitled Light Shed, is actually made of aluminum! Located on the downtown seawall near the Coal Harbour Community Centre and facing Stanley Park, the sculpture is based on the old boat sheds that used to line the shoreline. The artist cast a ½ scale model in aluminum and coated it with luminescent paint. At night a soft glow emanates from inside, I'll just have to go back sometime to witness that!
The olympic cauldron designed for the 2010 Winter Olympics held in Vancouver isn't technically public art, but it certainly is sculpture! The Cauldron remains as a permanent landmark on the Jack Poole Plaza at the Vancouver Convention Centre. At 32.8 ft (10 m) tall and set against a stunning mountain and harbour backdrop, the Cauldron continues to attract visitors and locals alike. I was certainly happy that I walked the stretch of the sea wall leading into Coal Harbor so that I didn't miss this!
That is it for my mini tour of some of the many many public art works one can enjoy in Vancouver, and if you are interested in delving further, the City of Vancouver has an extensive public art registry that you can access here. Enjoy!