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Confluence Martindale Public Art

confluence art piece
Photo credit: Ray Harper

The more than 162 metres of mixed media mural, titled Confluence, has been integrated onto the highly visible screening walls opposite each of the Martindale LRT platforms located in northeast Calgary. This artwork was made possible through the Public Art Policy with funds derived from the Blue Line LRT Extension project.

Concept

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.

Community engagement

confluence art pieceOne significant aspect of this 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. Confluence was completed in October 2012 and the Public Art budget was $474,000.

View a short video featuring the project, the artist and a number of other individuals involved.

Artist

David Dahlquist is a nationally-recognized public artist and teacher. His commissions for private, public, and institutional clients range from tilework and sculpture to major architectural installations. Since 1988, he has completed more than 30 large-scale public commissions across the country. David is a storyteller whose work is about creating meaningful experiences for the public. His work depends upon many different elements, orchestrated in a way that the public is welcomed into and moved by the experience.

The artist was chosen through an open call process, where all interested artists are invited to submit an application.