“Three Things . . .”

Graffiti Sunburst, Kensington Market, Toronto

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth.”                          

                                      ~ Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha)

Toronto Loves Public Art!

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“Large Two Forms” (1966 & 1969), Henry Moore

Toronto’s diversity is reflected in the wide array of public art, especially sculpture, that can be seen on block after block in its downtown core.  Encounters with public art as we hustle from place to place provide moments for reflection and inspiration and help to remind us of our connections to deeper things and to one another.

These pieces from out and about merely scratch the surface of the city’s offerings. (I forgot to get the titles for a couple of these pieces.)

Lyssa Kayra’s Inspired Tree Ring Art

Vancouver's Winter (2015)

Lyssa Kayra, Vancouver’s Winter (2016)

Lyssa Kayra’s art is striking!  I love her skillful use of colors and her expressive creativity. Her imaginative large-scale paintings use the form of tree rings — the natural design of which alone makes an intriguing subject and which is suggestive of time and memory — as a means of conveying ideas about specific places that have influenced her.

More info about this wonderful young Vancouver-based artist and her gorgeous work can be found on her artist site here.

Anjuna Textile, India (2015)

Lyssa Kayra, Adjuna Textile, India (2015)

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Berlin Wall (2015)

Lyssa Kaya, Berlin Wall (2015)

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Sahara (2015)

Lyssa Kayra, Sahara (2015)

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Purple Study (2016)

Lyssa Kayra, Purple Study (2016)

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Winnipeg’s Cozy and Artful Warming Huts

Woodpile HutWood Pile Hut

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Skating on the frozen surface of the Assiniboine River, a popular winter pastime, will work up quite a chill.  Recognizing this, makeshift warming huts have long been used along the river to provide a temporary respite from the cold.  Several years ago (2010), a local art-and-architecture competition was started in Winnipeg to see how the simple warming hut might be creatively rethought.  The result has been an annual showcase of fun and function that does Winnipeg proud, as these images attest!  More about the warming huts can be found at the site for the annual competition.

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The-Hole-idea

The Hole Idea Hut

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Fir Hut

Fir Hut

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Five-Hole-Hut----Gehry-Part

The Five-Hole Hut

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Ha(y)ven Hut

Ha(y)ven Hut

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Hygge House Hut

 The Hygge Hut

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Ice Pillows Hut

Ice Pillows Hut

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Red Blanket Hut

Red Blankets Hut

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Rope Pavillion Hut

Rope Pavillion Hut

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Windshield Hut

Windshield Hut

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Image credits:   Warming Huts Competition Site

Neighborly Toronto!

The mosaic or melting pot, as you prefer, that is Toronto is notably defined by its many distinct neighborhoods.  By the time I realized I was working on a theme with these signage shots I had already overlooked about a dozen or so too many feet-miles earlier to readily retrace my steps.

 

Joni Mitchell’s Sublime Artistry; Memorial for Newtown’s Victims

I’ve long admired Joni Mitchell and previously mentioned her collaboration with fellow Canadians, Neil Young and The Band.   A number of her songs serve as place markers for my memories in that special way that songs do when they touch deeply.   So I read with interest the finely crafted essay in this week’s The New Yorker (Dec. 17, 2012, pages 30-35) by Zadie Smith about Smith’s eventual appreciation of Mitchell’s beguiling singing.  The following observation by Smith stood out for me for its thoughtful insight into the straitjacket of expectations against which many artists struggle once they’ve achieved a measure of critical acclaim :

“We want our artists to remain as they were when we first loved them. But our artists want to move.  Sometimes the battle becomes so violent that a perversion in the artist can occur:  these days, Joni Mitchell thinks of herself more as a painter than a singer.  She is so allergic to her audience that she would rather be a perfectly nice painter than a singer touched by the sublime.  That kind of anxiety about audience is often read as contempt, but Mitchell’s restlessness is only the natural side effect of her artmaking, as it is with Dylan, as it was with Joyce and Picasso.  Joni Mitchell doesn’t want to live in my dream, stuck in an eternal 1971 — her life has its own time.  There is simply not enough time in her life for her to be the Joni of my memory forever.  The worst possible thing for an artist is to exist as a feature of somebody else’s epiphany.”

In Memory of Newtown’s Victims

Among Mitchell’s many songs that have meaning for me is “The Circle Game,” which resurfaces memories of my long ago routine of playing this piece as an accompaniment to rocking to sleep each of my boys when they were infants.   The video below of this poignant song of childhood innocence and the journey of life is shared here in memory of the many innocent souls tragically killed this week in Newtown, Connecticut:

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