I had to be downtown for an early physio appointment yesterday and when I arrived at the clinic at the corner of Graham and Edmonton the door was locked. I was a little annoyed at having to wait but it gave me time to survey my surroundings.
Right in front of me was something that looked like a picnic table but as I examined it more closely I realized it was really interesting in both design and shape. It zigged and zagged and was long and narrow and it was looped together with these deep forest green railings.
I noticed a plaque on the table so I went over to take a look. The sign said the table was actually a work of art by Nicole Marion and Chris Wiebe and had been installed in 2020.
It was called PIICNIIC and had been made to look like a picnic table sliced in half and overlapped. The artists wanted it to be not only a piece of art but also a place for people to sit and rest or eat their lunch.
I had probably walked by that bench a hundred times in the past since it is right on the route I often use to walk to and from work but I’d never really noticed it before yesterday.
My eye travelled down PIICNIIC and there at the end of it was another artistic piece! I went over to take a look. Some kind of steel box had been painted in a modern and colourful way.
I did a little research when I got home and found out it was actually a transit box. It had been painted by an artist named Sarah Collard and she called it Bus Stop because it was right beside the bus shelter.
Sarah said she had painted actual people she saw on Graham Avenue walking by the bus stop or waiting to take the bus. She made blind contour drawings of them, which means she looked only at them and not at what she was drawing on the box till she had finished their outlines. It made them seem a little strange and abstract.
I took a couple of photos of the colourful box myself and then snagged a couple from the wonderful Murals of Winnipeg website.
After discovering these two art pieces I went over and tried the clinic door again. Still locked.
That’s when I spied ANOTHER piece of art on the wall of the clinic building right beside the door.
A plaque beside it said the work was called cloth, quill ghost worlds and was created by an Anishinaabe artist named Scott Benesiinaabandan. It had a deep black background and eight photographs of these colourful bits of cloth stuck together with porcupine quills.
There was a barcode on the plaque so you could listen to Anishinaabe songs while looking at cloth, quill ghost worlds.
While I was getting ready to do that the receptionist came to open the door to the physio clinic so I hurried inside.
I had been annoyed about not being able to get into the clinic but realized that had actually been a good thing because it had made me stop and really look at my surroundings.
Here I was in a kind of mini art gallery on a Winnipeg street corner and if the clinic door had been open I wouldn’t even have noticed.
It made me wonder what other beautiful little things about my city had gone unobserved because I was too busy thinking, or listening to a podcast to actually notice things around me as I walked.
It made me realize I needed to be more observant!
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