Sunday, June 11, 2017

La Balade Pour la Paix

Dancing Nana, 1995, Niki de Saint Phalle

As part of Montreal's 375th anniversary, and with a nod to the 50th anniversary of Expo 67, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has organized an outdoor sculpture garden for all to enjoy. Stretching along more than one kilometre of our iconic Sherbrooke Street, the 30 large sculptural works begin near the McCord Museum and end near Concordia University. Made by both Canadian and international artists, all are well-marked and well-labelled. You can read more about it on the Museum's website.

The trail's eastern border, on McGill's campus, is marked with this exuberant female figure, the largest of Saint Phalle's Nanas.

Dancing Nana, 1995, Niki de Saint Phalle

Also on the McGill campus are Jonathan Borofsky's Human Structures Vancouver

Human Structures Vancouver, 2010, Jonathan Borofsky

and a giant Wolf, by Joe Fafard.

Wolf, 2015, Joe Fafard

Keith Haring delights with two brightly-painted figures,

Untitled (Ringed Figure), 1987,  Keith Haring
Untitled (Figure on Baby), 1987, Keith Haring

while Wang Shugang's installation incorporates eight crouching figures.

The Meeting, 2007, Wang Shugang
The Meeting, (detail), 2007, Wang Shugang 

Along our way, we took time to appreciate some street scenes:

The Urban Forest, back for another summer
beside the McCord Museum,
and offering a shady spot for a picnic lunch

a patterned playground, installed beside the Museum of Fine Art,
with Avenue du Musée closed again to traffic

Ongoing construction suggests that McTavish
will be permanently closed to traffic,
offering paving stones, multiple benches and
a clear view to the imposing Allan Memorial hospital pavilion
on the crest of the mountain.

Continuing westward, a few more sculptures caught my eye:

Sunbird II, 1962-64, Sorel Etrog

Icon North, 2010, Ivan Eyre

Six-foot Leaping Hare on Steel Pyramid, 1990, Barry Flanagan

Finally, at the western border of the installation, we can see this monumental tower from British Columbia.

Residential School Totem Pole, 2014-16, Charles Joseph

The Museum's website offers a detailed explanation of the iconography of the totem pole. Each figure plays its part in the re-telling of the residential school story.

The path along Sherbrooke Street is marked with flags from all the world's countries, almost 200 in all, and is lined with an exhibition of large images, Photographs of a Changing World.

"Visitors strolling by the sixty-seven stations along the route will see recent works by thirteen contemporary photographers. These Montrealers of various backgrounds have criss-crossed the planet to capture the state of the world with their cameras. Intimately linking art and life, their documentary and art photographs share a reflection: this urban photo album, based on the values of openness and tolerance, expresses our need to find better ways of living together on the planet we share."

The Ballade Pour la Paix will be in place until October 29, 2017, and will be a highlight of the city's anniversary celebrations.

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