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.
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.