Ripple - Public Artwork
Title of Artwork:Ripple
Artist: Sky Spirit Studio
Site: Off 12 Street S.E. in Inglewood, at the end of the 8 Avenue S.E. laneway
While conducting their research for this project, artists Wade Baker and Mary Tasi of Sky Spirit Studio heard from many people about how the Bow River brings them peace.
They studied the natural and built design elements in the Inglewood community – fencing, gardens, doors, tree grates, Bow River eddies, swirls, water patterning and stones. Symbolically during the River Blessing held on April 18, 2015, a water circle with at least seven pathways emerged when a stone was thrown into the river. Taking inspiration from the circle, Sky Spirit researched walking circles and river mythologies from various cultures.
The resulting art concept is called, Ripple.
This nearly 10-metre diameter walking circle is designed to be a meaningful way to consider the river. It consists of an east entrance facing the rising sun. Seven walking pathways wind in towards a central meditative space which has a buffalo, eagle, otter and beaver motif, representing the four compass directions and the four seasons: birth (eagle/east), youth (otter/south), middle age (beaver/west) and wisdom age (buffalo/winter).
There is a contrast between the symmetry of the seven paths and the meditative process, and the continually changing energy and nature of the Bow River. The seven paths also represent the seven teachings of humility, respect, truth, courage, honesty, love and wisdom. There is a subtle break added to the walking circle, allowing a mythical river to symbolically flow through the circle.
During March and April 2015, Baker and Tasi spent several days meeting with various members of the Inglewood community, representatives from The City of Calgary, Blackfoot and Cree Elders and local historians. The intention was to better understand the community’s relationship to the river and to create relationships for the extent of the project.
A River Mythology Community Group was created with representatives from the Inglewood Community Association, Inglewood businesses and residents, and Blackfoot and Cree Elders.
In addition, Piitoayis Family School was consulted, and they generously allowed Sky Spirit Studio to use the Legend of the Bear and the Chinook Wind in the art piece. This was a school legends project in 2014/2015.
On June 18th, 2015, the team held a formal community consultation event at the Alexandra Centre in Inglewood, at which the concept was presented to the community and feedback was provided on sayings to be included in the final design.
Wade Baker and Mary Tasi founded Sky Spirit Studio in 1995. The duo is made up of a west coast artist and an east coast urban planner who combine to create a team that crosses cultural boundaries and creates inspirational, award-winning public art.
Sky Spirit takes a unique approach they have defined as: Form follows Energy. Baker and Tasi spend additional time in research and exploration, and make a physical representation from the emotional interactions and connections they discover during meetings, site walks and the engagement process.
Sky Spirit’s philosophy is that art brings community together to develop new ideas and create social and cultural change.
Ripple was the result of the River Mythology Project the final phase of the Bow Passage Overlook Community Engagement, which wasseries of community events and workshops that reference, explore and celebrate Inglewood’s relationship to the river.
Public Art Budget: $60K
Commissioned by: Utilities and Environmental Protection
Capital Project: Bow Passage Overlook
Project Completion: October 2015