This is a mural called Metropolis which I photographed on a visit to Toronto’s City Hall. Created by artist David Partridge it contains 100,000 nails.
Metropolis is composed of nails of many different shapes and sizes to illustrate that cities are made up of very diverse kinds of people. It makes me think about the rich and interesting diversity of human beings that make up Canada with its approximately 38 million people and our world with its 7.5 billion people .
At the centre of the mural which represents the heart of the city the nails are very close together. There are many places in our country and our world where people live in close proximity. Downtown Vancouver is the most densely populated area in Canada. When I lived in Hong Kong I often went shopping in the Mong Kok district which is the most densely populated place on earth.
As you move out from the centre of the mural the nails are further apart since they are representing the suburbs of the city. In Canada, many people live in smaller communities. Both my husband Dave and I grew up in a small Canadian community and so did our parents.
On bicycle trips I have taken in China and Croatia and Germany and on drives in rural Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Portugal and Australia and other places, I have come to realize just how many marvellous and infinitely diverse small towns and villages provide homes to the people of the world.
The furthest edges of the mural represent the area just outside the city where the metropolis gives way to rural living. Although fewer and fewer people in Canada and the world live in isolated and sparsely populated regions there are still some. I think about an isolated bed and breakfast we stayed at once that literally hugged the rugged shore of Newfoundland or the house we rented in rural Iceland where there were no other homes for miles around.
A really interesting thing about the Metropolis mural is that if you drop a coin anywhere near the top of it that coin will make its way through the maze of nails down to the bottom and create a beautiful musical sound as it travels. The day we visited the mural we saw a large group of tourists lined up along the wall and they all let their coins go at the same time and it made this grand and lovely symphony of sound.
For me, the mural of 100,000 nails can represent the unique populations of Canada and the amazingly diverse populations of our world living in different places in different ways. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all come together in one gigantic mural of sight and sound where everyone creates a cohesive whole but at the same time everyone is seen and heard?