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PUBLIC ART: Michael Belmore at Concord Park Place, North York, Toronto

“Stone was once liquid, once fire, once lucid from the confines of its solid state; they ebbed and flowed like water beneath the islands from which we build our lives.” – Michael Belmore

In the wait for cultural insitutions and galleries to open back up again, there are still opportunties to see art up-close and personal. Also, with the warm weather the timing is good to get out to explore public art in Toronto. The city is rich with outdoor art to be found along city parks, back alleys and even under highway overpasses. The City of Toronto website features an interactive map that provides information for 400 works of public art. Urbanist Shawn Micallef recently wrote an article for the Toronto Star that showcases some of the city’s art that is within reach, despite the lockdown. The list includes work by Michael Belmore commissioned for the Concord Park Place in North York by the Bessarion Subway Station. The park is part of a condo complex that includes an eight acre green space along with the new Bessarion Community Centre scheduled to open in 2021.

Michael’s work, titled Ebb and Flow is featured at two locations within the park. The carved boulders are glacial erratics that were found on site. In his artist statement, Michael writes:

These boulders are travelled stone, they are from away, they have been picked up by ancient glacial forces and moved to the area where we now find them. In embellishing the stone, I am endeavouring to speak of how they have been worn and rounded by water, rolled under ice, and even how they descended through the retreating ice to find themselves where they are now. Ebb and Flow is a honouring of their journey. (source link)

The green space, formerly named Woodsy Park, has now been renamed in the Wendat language. Ethennonnhawahstihnen’ Park (et-hen-nonn-ha-wah-stih-nen) translates to “where they lived good and beautiful lives” making reference to a Wendat burial site within proximity to the area. Other commissioned works include installations by Canadian artists Ken Lum (Cracked Ice) and An Te Liu (Tropos) as well as fences designed by Demakersvan, a Dutch art collective (view images of their work here).

Worth a visit to this summer!

IMAGE CREDIT: Michael Belmore

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