The new Windsor Park Fire Station will include a public artwork titled Under the Helmet by Canadian artist Ilan Sandler. Chosen via an open international call-to-artists, Ilan worked closely with the design team and put forward this concept in response to The City’s goal of having a site-specific artwork that relates to the unique community of Windsor Park, reflects the roles, responsibilities and history of the Calgary Fire Department, and encourages connection to the site by the public.
Under the Helmet is a large linear aluminum sculpture of a fire-fighter’s helmet. From a distance, viewers will see the outline of the helmet and visor, and by following the pathway, they can walk right up under the piece to experience the some of the finer details.
The artwork speaks to the complex relationships and dependencies that exist among firefighters and their equipment. In particular, the helmet distinguishes the individuality of the fire-fighter, while symbolizing membership on a team.
The artwork is more than referential. Its open spaces allow viewers to project their own understanding of what fire-fighters encounter.
By constructing the linear form from the characteristics of hoses and maintaining ample open spaces within the structure, the artwork’s curves will complement the angular geometry of the building’s design and hardscaping. The artwork fuses the personal and the uniform into a monument to the profession, suggestive of the challenges and rewards firefighters experience while under the helmet.
Ilan Sandler has shown his work across Canada and internationally, and has completed public art commissions in Toronto, St. Louis, Philadelphia and Busan, South Korea. He has received numerous awards, including grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Nova Scotia Department of Culture. Ilan studied at the University of Toronto, where he received a B.Sc. in Physics, and at the Ontario College of Art and Design, where he completed an Honours Fine Arts certificate. In 2000 he was awarded an MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. He is currently running Sandler Studio Inc. in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and is also a Research Fellow at NSCAD University.
- The public art component of this capital project is as a result of the Council-mandated Public Art Policy and the associated percent-for-art funding strategy.
- Construction of the artwork will follow capital project timelines and is anticipated to be complete in Spring 2014.
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