The throngs of people who visit Celebration Square have a new piece of public art to enjoy. A large sculpture of painted steel, shaped like a giant book, was recently unveiled at the southeast corner of the square in the heart of Mississauga.
Entitled The Book, the sculpture features an open book with a red cover and pages that appear to be billowing in the wind. A few feet away from the book itself is a separate page which has become detached from the book. Artist is Ilan Sandler, who runs an art studio located in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The sculpture has been in existence for a while – it was previously located along the north side of Highway 401, adjacent to Pearson International Airport. It was recently relocated to the Square One location and unveiled on May 10.
In a local interview, Sandler explained that the sculpture is covered with symbols, which symbolize early alphabets.
The centre of the pages show clusters of Roman letters. Surrounding each one of them are figures of various alphabets which predate the Roman system. The Book celebrates the history of the English language, and its alphabet.
Originally commissioned by the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), the sculpture was always planned to be eventually moved to a more pedestrian friendly site.
Sandler has other public art commissioned in Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Toronto, as well as in Denmark, and South Korea. Born in Johannesburg (South Africa) in 1971, Ilan Sandler and his family immigrated to Toronto six years later, in 1977. Sandler studied at the University of Toronto, where he received a B.Sc. in Physics, and at the Ontario College of Art and Design, where he completed an Honours Fine Arts certificate. In 2000 he was awarded an MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. He then went on to teach at the University of the Arts and Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia, and most recently at NSCAD University where he held a SSHRC Research/Creation Fellowship until 2011. He is currently running Sandler Studio Inc. in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The Book is just one more reason to visit Celebration Square, and is sure to become yet another identifiable landmark in the area.
Statue of A.J. Casson by Beverley Cairns in Elora, Ontario
Today’s post won’t be about Mississauga, but instead about a day trip we took from there. Today was a glorious, warm, and sunny fall day, and it was also a holiday, being Canadian Thanksgiving. We had already finished with the big dinner earlier on Saturday, and so we decided to go on a “fall foliage tour” to a couple of our favourite southern Ontario places. After spending time taking in the sights of Belfountain & Erin, Ontario, we then headed west to the lovely town of Elora.
The weather was great, and although it’s been a couple of years since our last visit, it is gratifying that not too much has changed in this quaint village. Elora is located about 100km northwest of Mississauga, in a scenic area near the Grand River, and near a very deep gorge known as the Elora Gorge. There are a lot of artists who live here, and the town is indeed known as an artists colony.
While wandering the quaint boutiques in the downtown area, we found a lot of public art on display – there were quite a few to be found in various locations with a Halloween theme, but also this guy – an interesting statue of A.J. Casson, by local artist Beverley Cairns. This is in a park near the centre of town.
The material appeared to be some sort of clay or ceramics….
A.J. Casson was a renowned Canadian painter, and a member of the ‘Group of Seven’. There were other works of art in the park, but this particular sculpture had a definite presence – you could really ‘feel’ it, standing nearby, kind of quirky, in a very attractive way. The good citizens of Elora are a lucky bunch.
It’s so gratifying to see great public art such as this, especially unexpectedly in a small town in rural Ontario. Kudos to the artist, Beverley Cairns, it’s really a great piece, and to the local folks and politicians who made it possible. It makes an already special place even better. One last pic:
If you haven’t been to Elora yet, or if it’s been a while since you’ve been there, it’s definitely worth the short drive, and the public art is a bonus.
Enjoy public art? Does it have a place in our cities and towns? Do you like this sculpture? Share your thoughts in comments below, we’d love to hear from you!
Possibilities by Michel de Broin
Possibilities is a public art piece by Montreal based artist Michel de Broin. Installed in late 2012, Possibilities is located in the roundabout in front of Sheridan College Mississauga campus, at the intersection of Square One Drive and Duke of York Blvd. Today we will revisit this sculpture, which has added a noticeable splash of colour to the area just west of the Square One shopping mall.
Created out of aluminum, Possibilities consists of eight coloured arrows, and is meant as a nostalgic reflection of 1950’s road signs. It seems to me that the sculpture is a pretty good reflection of Mississauga’s auto-centric past, also pointing to new possibilities as it morphs into a more urban future.
Michel de Broin is a noted Canadian artist, based in Montreal. He has had exhibitions of his work in Canada, the U.S., France, Germany, and South Korea. You may remember news items about his recent contribution to Nuit Blanche celebrations in Paris, which consisted of a gigantic lit disco ball, elevated high in the sky. It was a crowd favourite in Paris. Michel is past winner of Canada’s Sobey Award, and he has a website here.
Although most drivers on the roundabout probably won’t have much time to admire the work, I think that this latest piece of public art is another subtle and life affirming addition to the city centre. The folks at the City of Mississauga’s public art initiative are to be applauded for their ongoing efforts to bring splashes of colour for us all to enjoy. We all win, and Canadian artists benefit as well. I like the fact that the area around Square One, which was previously mostly a wasteland, has transformed into something pretty special, peppered with public artwork, even as it is a work in progress. As phase 2 of the Sheridan campus takes shape, more and more people will be able to enjoy the “Possibilities” at this busy intersection.
The City of Mississauga continues to make interesting additions to its public art program, with another new and colourful project coming on stream last month. This one is titled “Tree Quilts”, and it is bringing a splash of colour and whimsy to the intersection of Hurontario St. and Burnhamthorpe Rd. W.
Tree Quilts consists of decorative wrapping of 11 trees located in the median of Hurontario St., which are part of a larger group of trees which are normally wrapped in regular brown burlap to protect them against the elements each winter. These 11 trees have been wrapped in colourful fabrics and quilts, which were custom made by the artist. Created by Toronto based design studio Fugitive Glue, these bright and colourful quilts have brightened up the intersection, and have been bringing smiles to Mississauga residents since their unveiling.
People that I’ve talked to seem to like the splash of colour that the quilted wraps bring to this busy part of Mississauga, in the heart of the city, and directly across from Square One shopping mall. They certainly do make an impact when you first see them. This public art display will disappear when the trees are unwrapped in the spring; hopefully they will return next year. Fugitive Glue is a collective of artists and designers, under the direction of founder Jano Badovinac. They have a website here. My only complaint? I wish that all the trees had been wrapped this way!
Contemplating Child – Mississauga Public Art in the Park
It’s been 5 months since the “Contemplating Child” sculpture was installed at Mississauga Community Common Park, located in the heart of the city centre. Situated on a hilltop at the eastern end of the park, and created by Toronto artist Ferruccio Sardella, this has quickly become a popular landmark and meeting place in the Square One area. Created out of Cor-Ten steel, and weighing 3,500 pounds, we often see people taking photos here, and children hanging out and climbing on the structure.
Contemplating child is one of a series of recent public art additions in the City of Mississauga. Ferruccio Sardella is an artist based in Toronto, and he has a website here.
When I first saw this in August, 2014, I thought it more resembled “sad and lonely” child, or maybe “hungover adult”, but it has grown on me, there is certainly an interesting quality about the piece. Feel free to comment and tell us what you think about this sculpture, and all the other recent public art installations in #Mississauga. Personally, I think they are all great, each one is completely different from the others, each has a specific message to relay, and each of them humanizes and adds a certain amount of charm to the city centre.