Friday, November 16, 2012

Public Art in The City of Calgary: Confluence

Artist David Dahlquist is responsible for the more than 162 metres of mixed media mural, titled Confluence, that has been integrated onto the highly visible screening walls opposite each of the Martindale LRT platforms located in northeast Calgary.

The mural is a sculptural installation that weaves together the physical and symbolic connections of rivers to the city through which they flow. Rivers represent a dynamic cross-cultural connection, complete with metaphors of time, flow, current, nature, past, present and future. The story of the Bow and Elbow rivers, for instance, is that of the people and life in Calgary, including the original First Nations inhabitants. The installation combines many different materials - glazed terra cotta, pattern-cut metal, and LED lighting –  to create a unique and meaningful “river” that speaks to the community, the site and the history of our people.   

One significant aspect of this public art project is the degree to which the community was engaged. Two workshops were hosted by the artist, one at a neighbourhood elementary school and one at the Genesis Centre for Community Wellness. These workshops solicited hands-on involvement and saw participants generate a wide variety of symbols, cultural artifacts related to Calgary’s history, patterns and motifs that were then “offered to the river.”  Each one of these visual symbols has been incorporated into the final design and appears to float along the course of the river. As a result, the artwork is a truly collaborative effort, reflective of the community’s contributions and spirit. 

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