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Public art tour: Linda Hoang

September 7, 2023

As part of a new series on the EAC blog, we’ve asked a handful of notable Edmontonians to create their very own public art tours using the new tour function on the EAC website. 

For our second tour in the series, Linda Hoang takes us on a tour of her favourite pieces in the Edmonton public art collection: 

I love public art because so often it surprises and delights. Art is an opportunity to bring an unexpected moment to someone’s day — or it’s something that provides familiar comfort and contemplation. When you walk down the street and catch an art piece in the corner of your eye, like Still Life” downtown. When you step into a south Edmonton community centre and smile at a sculpture of a giant sleeping cat named Henri.” When you cross the Tawatinâ Bridge overlooking the North Saskatchewan River and see that more than 500 paintings of river valley flora and fauna are crossing along the bridge with you. Art makes our neighbourhoods better and our lives richer. Exploring and experiencing art is one of my favourite things to do in Edmonton. 

While this tour focuses specifically on public art pieces, I’m also a big Instagrammable Wall’ buff. These walls can be murals, coloured walls, textured walls, just an interesting-looking wall that you may want to snap a photo of — and Edmonton has many. In fact, Old Strathcona is Edmonton’s mural district and my Guide to Instagrammable Walls of Edmonton is one of my most popular blog posts ever, which tells me that Edmontonians and visitors to the city all have a similar appreciation for art and art exploration that I do. That’s pretty cool.”

Have A Nice Day” by Chelsea Boida & Mark Feddes
  1. Have a Nice Day by Chelsea Boida & Mark Feddes 
    2013 // Northgate Transit Centre
    This hand-painted mural celebrates colour and motion. The artists intended to complement both the transit centre and the nearby urban landscape. The colours and shapes relate to the visual experience of the mural and the surrounding neighbourhood – a place of diverse land uses, pathways, commerce, and people. Colours on signs, packaging, clothing and other details of this landscape make Have a Nice Day at home in a sea of changing colour.

    Paskwamostos” by Joe Fafard
  2. Paskwamostos by Joe Fafard
    1999 // Shaw Conference Centre
    The large plasma-cut and powder-coated steel sculpture stands over three and a half metres high, recalling the magnificent size of a Bison. Its convex shape towers over and surrounds the viewer, drawing the viewer into its centre. The title can be traced back to the Cree word for Bison, revealing the influence of aboriginal culture and legends on the artist, as well as the inspiration from his Saskatchewan home on the Great Plains

    Amiskwaciw Waskayhkan Ihtawin” by Destiny Swiderski
  3. Amiskwaciw Waskayhkan Ihtawin by Destiny Swiderski
    2016 // Michael Phair Park
    AmiskwacÎw Wâskâyhkan Ihtâwin(Beaver Hills House Park) invites the public to wander through Michael Phair Park and into Beaver Hills House Park led by a community of Bohemian wax-wing birds. More than 150 bird silhouettes make this artwork a three-dimensional experience as the movement takes people into the park. Flight studies were interpreted as ten different shapes of the wax-wing come to life from takeoff to mid-flight and beyond. This procession is further accentuated by the mural, the edge of the boreal forest — the context of Edmonton and the landscape that is true to this place. Both Cree syllabics and translations are utilized as the main hierarchy to express the Indigenous roots of this special place; a place to gather and share stories about the past, present, and future.

    Vaulted Willow” by Marc Fornes & THEVERYMANY
  4. Vaulted Willow by Marc Fornes & THEVERYMANY
    2014 // Borden Park
    Vaulted Willow (known as​“Willow) is an​“architectural folly,” evoking the decorative, but generally non-practical structures that adorned the great estates of Europe in the 18th & 19th centuries. As a structure, it explores the concept of lightweight, self-supporting elements generated through computations of form and structure as well as descriptive geometry. From a distance, the sculpture’s colours seem to meld seamlessly into one another. Up close, the surface is revealed as an intricate assembly of coloured structural shingles. Willow’s colour, shape and tracery of light and shadow invite the passerby to stop, explore and play within.

    iskotew” by Amy Malbeuf
  5. iskotew by Amy Malbeuf
    2018 // INIW River Lot 11
    ​iskotew​is a sculptural representation of the word​“fire” in nehiyawewin (Cree language) syllabics: ᐃᐢᑯᑌᐤ. The colours chosen are based on colours that are seen in both historical and contemporary works as to illustrate the congruencies and survival within Indigenous cultures. The vibrancy of the colours are also congruent with the vibrancy of our cultures and languages. The nehiyawewin word for woman, iskwew, is derived from the word fire, therefore; iskotew connotes the sacred abilities of women, and the often unrecognized labours of Indigenous women who contributed to creating the place now known as Edmonton.

    Still Life” by Studio F Minus
  6. Still Life by Studio F‑Minus
    2014 // MacEwan LRT Station
    In writing about this sculpture installation, the artists say:​Still Life​, of course, isn’t still at all. [The work is] a set of six sculptures located in the centre of the grassy space near the Grant MacEwan LRT station. On their own, each is a whimsical, colourful addition to the site. When viewed together from a viewpoint looking through the final sculpture, a picture frame, the sculptures flatten into the classic trope of Western painting: the still life with fruit bowl. The sculptures are spaced with enough distance between them that commuters or students can walk freely between them, entering and exiting the​“picture”. In some ways, the sculptures are like a puzzle, one that invites pause in order for curious viewers to solve with their own positioning. However, the piece is designed to also incorporate those who move through it as an equally important part of the experience.

    NAIT LRT Bike Racks by Student Artists
    NAIT LRT Bike Racks by Student Artists
  7. NAIT LRT Bike Racks by NAIT and MacEwan Student Artists
    2015 // NAIT LRT Station
    For the new LRT stations at NAIT and MacEwan University, students were invited to submit their designs for functional, artistic bike racks to enliven the commute. Five designs from six students were chosen. The NAIT bike racks were also made by students at NAIT.

    Henri” by Craig LeBlanc
  8. Henri by Craig LeBlanc
    2011 // Terwillegar Recreation Centre
    The idea of community, gathering and comfort is at the heart of Craig Le Blanc’s sculptural installation, Henri​. A sleeping cat is quietly and securely curled in a net, suspended above a community gathering space as a representation of an idyllic environment with suggestions of safekeeping, home and comfort. In time Henri may become an intimate part of the neighbourhood landscape, and a familiar component of personal, family and community activities.

    Talus Dome” by Ball Nogues Studio
  9. Talus Dome by Ball Nogues Studio
    2012 // Quesnell Bridge at Whitemud Drive
    Composed of nearly 1,000 hand crafted stainless steel spheres that together assume the shape of an abstracted pile or mound, Talus Dome reflects the sky, the weather and the river of cars that pass by it. ​Talus Dome is both a sculpture in the landscape and a mirror to the landscape. Before the Quesnell bridge was constructed, talus forms of earth occurred naturally along the river valley. The artwork reminds us of the landscape that has been altered by the bridge, a rigid, controlled construction that meets our need to traverse the obstacle of the river. It refers to the coexistence of the man-made and the natural.

    Tawatinâ Bridge” by David Garneau
  10. Tawatinâ Bridge by David Garneau
    2021 // Tawatinâ Bridge
    The Tawatinâ Bridge shared-use pathway features over 500 paintings of the River Valley’s flora and fauna, and the First Nations, Métis, and settler histories of the area. Bridging the city, the art works show the intertwined lives of the people and the non-human beings who live and travel through here. The artist’s meetings with First Nations Elders and Knowledge Keepers, and Métis citizens, and numerous visits to the Valley since childhood, are the backbone of these paintings. David Garneau, along with a team of First Nations, Métis, Black, Asian, and artists of European ancestry, captured Edmonton’s four seasons and complex histories. The huge expanse and collage-like format allowed the artist to combine a variety of images that would not suit a conventional mural. Garneau explains that each picture is a prompt to story-telling:​“There are well-known histories, lesser-known family tales, sacred stories, hidden messages, and provocative combinations. The images are for everyone but the stories belong to those who know, keep, and share them. I have heard the stories but will not write them down. They are not mine to share. I hope their keepers will visit here, share their stories, and make these paintings live.”

You can access Linda’s tour here to download a copy of the map. You can also enter a start and end location to customize the route. 

Want to make your own public art tour? You can explore the collection and create your public art tour by following these simple steps.

  1. On the EAC website, select See All in the Public Art section of the menu.

  2. Select an artwork from the collection by clicking the pin-drop icon. This will add the artwork to your tour.

  3. You can also select artworks on the map to create a tour within a neighbourhood or ward. 

  4. Once you’ve selected the art for your tour, click​“Build your tour” at the top of the page.

  5. If you want, you can enter a start and end location.

  6. You then have the option to download a PDF of the tour, share the tour, and open your tour in Google Maps.