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!
Two new public art sculptures were recently installed in Mississauga at the corner of Duke of York Blvd. and Burnhamthorpe Rd. W. Entitled “Migration”, these stainless steel structures are by local artist Alex Anagnostou, and they portray a flock of now-extinct passenger pigeons in flight. There are two statues – one is ‘V” shaped, on the west corner, and one is shaped like an arc, on the east side of the intersection. When I was there yesterday, lots of people were stopping to admire the artwork.
Per the City of Mississauga’s press release, they are constructed of aluminum, stainless steel, and sandcast molten glass. I have to admit, they are quite striking in person, The colourful glass birds are inlaid into the metal, providing a nice effect.
These sculptures pay homage to the passenger pigeon, which in the nineteenth century used to exist in southern Ontario; now they are no more.
From the city’s website: “Migration recalls the story of the passenger pigeons that used to number in the billions as they flew across the southern coast of Lake Ontario during their migrations and would roost on the southern edge of Mississauga. The artwork also references the Mississauga First Nations people who were drawn to the area because of the rich and vibrant landscape which included the passenger pigeons.”
Definitely a nice addition to the Square One area of Mississauga. Alex Anagnostou is an artist in residence at the Living Arts Centre glass studio, and she has a website here: www.alexanagnostou.com