Council of Arts announces P.E.I. 2014 public art commissions

Journal Pioneer staff
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The Prince Edward Island Council of the Arts has commissioned 23 artists (one for each Father of Confederation present at the 1864 Charlottetown Conference) who will work in all disciplines to create new works that celebrate the P.E.I. 2014 sesquicentennial.

These works will then comprise the “P.E.I. 2014 Sesquicentennial Public Art Collection,” which will be made freely available for display in provincial, municipal, federal and privately owned locations that are open to the public.

"1864 was an important year for P.E.I., and the council is
thrilled to support these 23 fantastic Island artists, through the P.E.I. 2014 sesquicentennial public art program … It will leave behind a collection of work to be
enjoyed for years to come,” said PEICA board chair, Greg Doran.

The values of these commissions will range from $20,000 to $1,000 with all work being completed between Jan. 1 and May 20, 2014, ensuring the works are distributed to their display locations in time for the summer tourism audience.

This project began with "Who will be selected?" and will end with "Have you seen them all?" encouraging the public to be engaged in the project from inception to completion.

Each work, regardless of discipline, will be a distinct interpretation of Confederation as seen by contemporary Island artists and artisans.

Integral to the commissioning of the works is the documentation, by the commissioned artists, of the process of each works creation from start to finish. This will be accomplished by way of posts to a website (blogging) created for this purpose, leading to additional engagement in the project, and the artists involved, from the public at large, and the potential hosts for the works.

As these works are commissioned by the PEICA for perpetual public consumption, the collection will be indefinitely available to rotate through participating locations for many years to come.

The P.E.I. 2014 Sesquicentennial Public Art Collection’s featured artists and their projects are:

$20,000 Commissions:

Gerald Beaulieu – “Pursuit of a Nation”: A three-dimensional contemporary art work that will tell the story of Canada, its people, history and events since Confederation in the form of a board game.


Rebecca Parent – “What to Wear to the Birth of a Nation”, a new play, combining fiction and non-fiction, celebrating the women behind-the-scenes at the Charlottetown Conferences, with the added display element of showcasing the elaborate costumes and the layers involved.


Judith Scherer – A dance performance for choir, 23 dancers, four-channel video installation and electo-acoustic music.


Brenda Whiteway – “Confederation Country Cabinet”, a compilation of numerous items both created artistically by Island artists and found in various locations in Canada, along with artwork by Whiteway, would be housed within the cabinet, providing both symbolism and commentary on Confederation.


$5,000 Commissions:

Erin Arsenault – “To the Circus in 1864” is a representation of the typical Sunday attire worn by a middle class Island family in 1864, made using a mixture of locally made paper as well as vellum and cardstock.


Brian Burke – Painting, oil on canvas.


Millefiore Clarkes – A video installation piece that incorporates the staged performance of an original classical music composition, “A Song For Here.”


Roy Johnstone – To create a musical score that incorporates compositional structures of classical music circa 1864 with distinctive elements of Island traditional music. This new work will be performed as part of the 2014-15 P.E.I. Symphony season.


Monica Lacey – A large encaustic and mixed media work on wood panel contrasting Charlottetown of 1864 with the present day city using archival photographs and original photographs/imagery.


Stephen MacInnis – "Canada Suite: Long Series" a visual art exhibition will respond to the idea of the Canadian "mosaic".


Jim O’Leary – “Behind Every Man…Susan Gray and Confederation” is a new work by the composer based upon the theme of Confederation from the perspective of Susan Gray, wife of P.E.I. Premier Sir John Hamilton Gray.


Sarah Saunders – To create a ceramic wall piece that explores the dinner table as a site of influence in the Charlottetown Conference.


Terry Dunton-Stevenson – "Stevensons' 1864 Circus" will be a 3-dimensional dorama encased in a portable cart, and reminiscent of the "Slaymaker & Nichols' Olympic Circus", which was held in Charlottetown during the 1864 Charlottetown Conference.


Christine Trainor – To create a series of landscape paintings depicting P.E.I. at the time of Confederation and reflecting its evolution to present day.


Becka Viau – Agrarian Monuments is a series of seven land art, or living sculpture installations. The artwork will be installed in seven locations across P.E.I. in some of our most picturesque rural landscapes.


Sirens - Sirens will commission Island composer, Richard Covey, to compose a work that explores the 1864 Charlottetown Conference from the perspective of the women who were present but have been largely ignored by those who have sought to celebrate the beginnings of Canada.


$1,000 Commissions:


Maria Brychuk – Fully costumed, group dance performance consisting of one dance number supporting P.E.I. 2014 celebration theme.  Dances will be performed during designated public performance either indoor or outdoor, as part of 2014 celebrations.


Nancy Cole – “Red Right Returning” is a navigational statement. To create a quilted textile that will comprise of cotton, quilt batting and an original vintage marine chart of Charlottetown harbour and topped with contemporary portraits of each of the participating Fathers of Confederation. To create a piece that is old and new, simple and elegant, bringing forward today, what happened 150 years ago.


Jane Ledwell – Poems selected from Isabella Bird's descriptions of P.E.I. which will be written from an unusual point of view that will suggest change and continuity of P.E.I. life prior to and since Confederation.


Sara Lippman – Traditional hand-woven coverlet. To create and weave on her loom in her P.E.I. studio a coverlet in a traditional overshot pattern using appropriate cotton and wool fibres and colours to celebrate the P.E.I. 2014 sesquicentennial.


Three other $1,000 commissions to be announced later.



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