What could be more Canadian than a canoe? Just after entering The Common, the refurbished new eating area at The Forks you can look up and see a trio of fun sculptures by Winnipeg artist Jordan Van Sewell. I noticed them for the first time last week when I met my friend Esther at The Forks for a walk and lunch.
Nineteen diverse and interesting characters represent Canada’s people, animals, symbols and strengths. Canoes are certainly a very Canadian mode of transportation. They were invented by indigenous Canadians and played a big role in the building of our country as they transported furs and supplies and people. The sculptures are inclusive. After looking at the three canoes closely I think every Canadian could identify with at least one of the characters in some way. I like it that the artist included animals too because co-existing on this earth with all God’s creatures is important.
The waters each canoe moves through are different. Here the canoe is gliding down frothy night waters. Check out the poppy in the first character’s lapel who I think may be a miner holding a shovel. There’s a musician perhaps of Italian descent paddling with his guitar and the polar bear has a paddle too.
If you visit The Forks you are sure to encounter a wide diversity of people. Jordan Van Sewell’s artwork Canoes represents that so well. If you’ve never noticed these sculptures check them out the next time you are at The Forks.
A Waterfall at the Library
Katherina Vermette on the Wall
The Guess Who on the Wall
There’s a steel sculpture painted in psychedelic colors just two blocks from our home called Grain Is King. It is a very appropriate art work to have in the Exchange District since our area of the city gets its name from the fact that the Winnipeg Grain Exchange was thriving here at the turn of the century.
Sheaves of grain are cut into the art work’s body and apparently if you crouch down and look through them from the back you can see the corner of Portage and Main streets which is the busy central hub of Winnipeg. The plaque on the sculpture’s base says, “Grain has built this town and has driven the economy of Winnipeg for many years.”
The man responsible for the sculpture is Jordan Van Sewell. He’s been working as an artist for thirty years and cites musician Frank Zappa and comic book creator Charles Schultz as influences.
Unfortunately there is a bit of graffiti on the back of the sculpture but luckily Van Sewell’s multi-colored exterior provides great camouflage so the graffiti is hardly noticeable.
The sculpture Grain is King made me think of this photo my Aunt Mary took of my grandfather, Diedrich Peters, who was a grain farmer in southern Manitoba. The grain he grew no doubt passed through Winnipeg many times on railway cars.
Grain is King is a good reminder of the agricultural products that were the foundation of the economy of the city of Winnipeg for so many years.
Sun Dogs and Steam
A Roof With A View
Filed under Art, Winnipeg